Now that the UK has left the EU, businesses here no longer have easy access to EU nationals when looking to recruit staff. This has led to a number of sectors struggling to fill vacancies and considering the option of hiring skilled workers from abroad. This is often possible, depending on the vacancy that exists, but the business needs to first hold a Sponsor Licence and there are certain steps that need to be followed; this article will outline the advantages, main steps required and possible pitfalls.
Advantages of a sponsor licence:
There are several advantages to having a UK employer sponsor licence from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to hire foreign workers, including:
- Access to a wider pool of talent – A sponsor licence allows an employer to hire workers from outside the UK who may have skills and experience that are not readily available in the domestic workforce. This can help the employer fill positions that are critical to their business or organisation.
- Streamlined visa process – as a licenced sponsor, an employer can support the foreign worker’s application for a work visa and provide the necessary documentation to UKVI. This can help expedite the visa process and make it easier for foreign worker to come to the UK to work.
- Compliance with immigration laws – having a sponsor licence – demonstrates that an employer is complying with UK immigration laws and taking their sponsorship responsibilities seriously. This can help the employer avoid potential penalties and maintain a positive reputation.
- Competitive advantage – in today’s global economy, the ability to hire foreign workers can be a competitive advantage for an employer. A sponsor licence can give an employer the flexibility to bring in the talent they need to succeed in their industry.
Overall, having a UK employer sponsor licence can provide many benefits and help an employer access the talent they need to thrive.
Becoming a Licenced Sponsor
To become a licenced sponsor, the business must apply to the UK Visas and Immigration agency and demonstrate that they are a legitimate business or organisation with a need for the foreign worker’s skills.
Main requirements for an employer:
The main requirements for an employer applying for a UK sponsor licence with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) are:
- The employer must be a legitimate business or organisation operating in the UK.
- The employer must have a need for the foreign worker’s skills and be able to offer them a job.
- The employer must be able to meet the requirements for being a sponsor, including providing appropriate accommodation and working conditions for foreign workers and complying with UKVI’s reporting and record-keeping requirements.
- The employer must be able to demonstrate that they are capable of complying with UKVI’s sponsorship duties, including reporting any changes in the foreign worker’s circumstances and informing UKVI if the worker is no longer employed by them.
The main costs for an employer sponsoring a foreign skilled worker in the UK include the cost of the sponsorship licence, the cost of the work visa application, and any legal or professional fees associated with the process. The employer may also be required to pay for the foreign worker’s travel to the UK and provide them with appropriate accommodation and working conditions.
In addition, the employer may need to pay the Immigration Skills Charge, which is a fee that is levied on sponsors of Tier 2 (General) visa holders to fund training for UK workers. The specific costs will vary depending on the type of work the foreign worker will be doing and their country of origin, so it’s important to consult with UK Visas and Immigration for specific guidance.
The minimum earning requirement for a skilled worker visa in the UK depends on the specific visa category and the worker’s circumstances. The minimum salary for a job on the UK shortage occupation list, such as a carer, varies depending on the specific occupation and the worker’s circumstances.
For example, the minimum salary for a care worker on the shortage occupation list is £20,480 per year, while the minimum salary for a registered nurse is £20,800 per year. These salaries are lower than the minimum salaries for other Skilled visa jobs, which is £25,600 per year, because these occupations are in high demand and considered to be in short supply in the UK.
It’s important to note that these minimum salary requirements may change over time, so it’s essential to consult with UK Visas and Immigration for the most up-to-date information.
Offering a job to a foreign worker once you have the licence:
Once you are a licenced sponsor, you can sponsor a foreign worker by offering them a job and supporting their application for a skilled worker visa. The specific requirements for sponsorship may vary depending on the type of work the foreign worker will be doing and their country of origin, so it’s important to consult with UK Visas and Immigration for specific guidance.
To bring a foreign national to the UK you need to:
- Offer a job to a non-EU/EEA national and obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for them.
- Have the non-EU/EEA national apply for a skilled worker visa, using the CoS as part of their application.
- Provide evidence that the non-EU/EEA national meets the eligibility requirements for a skilled worker visa, including the appropriate qualifications and experience for the job.
If the non-EU/EEA national’s application is approved, they will be granted a skilled worker visa, allowing them to work in the UK for the duration of their visa.
It is important to note that the UK government has strict rules and requirements for sponsoring skilled workers from abroad. It is advisable to seek the help of an immigration solicitor to ensure that the process is completed properly and in compliance with UK law.
Common problems with Employer Sponsor Licence applications:
Some of the main issues that may arise when applying for a sponsor licence with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) include:
- Incomplete or incorrect documentation – it’s important to provide all of the required documentation and ensure that it is complete and accurate. Failure to do so can delay the processing of your application or result in it being rejected.
- Insufficient need for the foreign worker’s skills – UKVI will only grant a sponsor licence to employers who can demonstrate a genuine need for the foreign worker’s skills. If the employer cannot show that the worker’s skills are necessary for their business or organization, the application may be rejected.
- Inability to meet sponsorship duties – sponsors have certain duties and responsibilities, including providing appropriate accommodation and working conditions for foreign workers and complying with UKVI’s reporting and record-keeping requirements. If the employer cannot demonstrate that they are able to meet these duties, the application may be rejected.
- Previous violations of immigration laws – UKVI may reject an application for a sponsor licence if the employer or the foreign worker has previously violated UK immigration laws. It’s important to disclose any such violations upfront and provide an explanation for them.
Get the help you need
An employer may choose to use a solicitor when applying for a sponsor license with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) for a number of reasons, including:
- Expertise and knowledge of the sponsorship process – solicitors are trained professionals with expertise in UK immigration laws and sponsorship processes. They can help ensure that your application is completed correctly and provide guidance on any potential issues that may arise.
- To save time – applying for a sponsor licence can be complex and time-consuming. A solicitor can handle the application on your behalf, freeing up your time to focus on running your business or organisation.
- Risk management – sponsorship is a significant responsibility, and failure to comply with UKVI’s requirements can have serious consequences. A solicitor can help you understand your obligations as a sponsor and take steps to manage potential risks.
- Peace of mind – hiring a Uk Immigration solicitor can give you peace of mind that your application is in good hands and that you are doing everything possible to secure a sponsor licence for your foreign worker.
Overall, using a Uk Immigration solicitor when applying for a sponsor licence can provide many benefits and help ensure the process goes smoothly. We have assisted many businesses in successfully applying for a Sponsor Licence and employing a foreign national. Please get in touch with us if you have questions about the process or would like us to assist your business in applying for a Sponsor Licence.
You may contact us by filling in our Quick Enquiry form any time you need professional support or have any questions. Alternatively, you can call us during office hours on 07544669131 / 0116 3800 744
Cross Border Legal Solicitors Ltd is a UK Solicitor law firm regulated by the under the Solicitor Regulations Authority and is Headed by Mr Tito Mbariti, a UK Immigration and Human Rights Solicitor who is a practising lawyer and member of the Law Society of England and Wales.