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Employer Sponsored UK Immigration

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If you are a small family business or recent start-up company then ‘employer sponsored UK immigration’ can sound very grown up and potentially beyond your scope. Sponsorship Licence lawyers would disagree. Often it is the small business that most needs to fight to recruit skilled workers so they can expand their business. In this article our immigration solicitors consider the employer sponsored UK immigration options.

UK Online and London Based Immigration Solicitors and Sponsorship Licence Lawyers

For advice on hiring skilled migrant workers and sponsoring employees call the expert London Sponsorship Licence lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

Employers as sponsors

Employers as sponsors is nothing new. Work visa sponsorship has been part of the UK immigration system for years but it is now more widely recognised. Brexit and the end of free movement for EU nationals has focussed attention on the UK skills shortage and the new  points-based immigration system.

Many employers have been affected by Brexit and its impact on the availability of EU workers. These businesses are having to assess their recruitment needs and the likelihood of filling their job vacancies from within the UK pool of available talent. In some sectors and industries there is fierce competition for UK and settled workers who are free of immigration controls. That makes it inevitable that some UK employers will need to turn to skilled migrant workers in the absence of a ready stream of EU workers able to exercise free movement rights.

If you are a small company or an unincorporated partnership you probably think you are too small to be a sponsor or that it is too much hassle to apply for a sponsor licence. Sponsorship Licence lawyers say you are never too small. There is no minimum size company that can apply for a sponsor licence. In addition, you don’t need to be incorporated although, for a variety of reasons, corporate and commercial solicitors may recommend company status to protect your business interests.

Sponsorship Licence lawyers also have an answer to the ‘hassle’ of operating a sponsor licence as most business immigration solicitors offer sponsor licence management services taking the hard work out of sponsorship. If you don’t fancy that then there is bespoke sponsor licence training available so you know enough to manage your own sponsor licence with the help of your immigration solicitors. Sponsorship Licence lawyers can also help with external audits to check you are complying with sponsor licence reporting and recording duties.

Who needs sponsoring

Working out who needs sponsoring is the first step to understanding if your business may need to apply for a sponsor licence or renew their existing sponsor licence.

The following workers don’t require sponsorship:

  • British citizens – they can be British citizens by birth or naturalisation.
  • Those with indefinite leave to remain.
  • Those EU nationals or members of their family with pre-settled statusor settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme .
  • Those in the UK on visas and with entry clearance that allows them to work without employer sponsorship. For example, an international student on a student visa can work subject to compliance with conditions on the amount of work or a person in the UK on a graduate visa or investor visa or a person with British national (overseas) status and a Hong Kong visa can all work in the UK without needing a sponsoring employer.

The following workers do require sponsorship:

  • Those applying for a skilled worker visa.
  • Those applying for the health and care worker visa (This type of visa is part of the skilled worker visa route).
  • Those currently in the UK on a Tier 2 (General) visa. (When their visa is due to expire, they will need to switch to the skilled worker visa as this replaced the Tier 2 (General) visa).
  • Those transferring from an overseas based company to a UK branch of the parent company under an intra company transfer visa.
  • Specialist visa applicants such as those applying for sportsperson visas or creative visas or temporary work visas.

The sponsor process

To sponsor a worker the first step is to secure your sponsor licence by making an application to the Home Office. Sponsorship Licence lawyers can help your business with your sponsor licence application and they can also audit your HR and file practices to ensure they are compliant with sponsor licence reporting and recording duties. Ongoing sponsor licence management is available if required.

Once the sponsor licence has been secured the next step is to start recruiting. Under the immigration rules you do need to evidence your recruitment process to comply with sponsor licence requirements. If you identify an overseas worker as the ideal candidate to meet your job vacancy then the follow-on step is to allocate the worker with a certificate of sponsorship. This ‘certificate‘ is just a reference number that Home Office officials use when considering the work visa application in order to ensure that the job the worker has been recruited to fill meets the required skill level and minimum salary threshold for the work visa.

Once the certificate of sponsorship has been allocated it is then up to the individual to use the sponsorship certificate to secure their visa. Help is available from Sponsorship Licence lawyers to assist with work visa applications including first applications for skilled worker visas or switching from the Tier 2 (General) visa to the skilled worker visa or applying for a dependant visa so family members can accompany the worker to the UK. Visas can be fast tracked in some cases.

Once the visa has been obtained it should be ‘all systems go’ for the sponsored employment with the new employee able to commence employment once you have carried out the statutory right to work checks that are required for all new employees.

UK Online and London Based Immigration Solicitors and Sponsorship Licence Lawyers

For sponsor licence advice or help with recruiting from overseas call the Sponsorship Licence lawyers at  OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

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