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How to employ a foreign skilled worker in the UK?


In order to employ a foreign skilled worker from anywhere in the world, they will need a visa to work in the UK and from 1st January 2021, this applies to all EU nationals as well.

Employing skilled workers

The UK government has introduced a new points-based system that applies to all foreign nationals and has heavily relied on employers applying for a sponsor licence. The new system will only allow skilled workers to come to the UK and employers are told to adjust and that they need to move away from relying on migrant labour and instead invest in staff retention, productivity, technology and automation. 

Apply for a sponsor licence

The employers who are not already on the register of sponsors should apply for a sponsor licence in order to sponsor migrant workers. The process for securing a sponsor licence is onerous and requires a good deal of research to ensure that the correct data is provided in the application. The application may be deemed invalid or refused if all supporting documents are not provided or in time. 

The Home Office has set out a sponsor licence guidance for the employers and a helpline for those who wish to apply or who are already on the register. The key criteria include having a process in place to monitor sponsored employees and having robust HR & Operational standards. The employers must also ensure that the position offered is genuine and keep records of how the applicant was identified. The Resident Labour Market Test has been abolished under the new sponsor licence regime, but the obligations to ensure genuine employment continues. The employer must also ensure the position offered meets the relevant skill level and salary requirements set out by the Home Office.

The Home Office usually takes around 8 weeks to process the sponsor licence application but has recently introduced a priority processing for limited applicants on a day for an additional fee of £500, which aims to provide a decision in 10 days. 

Please get in touch with one of our corporate immigration lawyers to discuss your organisation's eligibility to apply for a sponsor licence.

Disclaimer: No material or information provided on this website should be construed as legal advice. Readers should always seek appropriate professional advice to resolve their Legal Matters.
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