Sponsor Licence Applications – Recruiting Skilled Workers from outside the UK

Following the UK’s departure from the EU and the end of free movement in December 2020, the UK’s immigration system has changed significantly. In order to employ skilled workers from the EU and the rest of the world, UK businesses and organisations now require to obtain a Home Office Sponsor licence.

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The benefits of obtaining a Sponsor Licence

Key sectors of the UK economy regularly report that critical shortages of skilled workers are having a serious negative impact on their current stability and plans for future growth . Although the number of businesses applying for a Sponsor Licence has dramatically increased in the last two years, the overall number of businesses utilising the Sponsor Licence system continues to be relatively low.

The reasons why several businesses and sectors are perhaps reluctant to utilise the new system is understandable. When the UK was part of the European Union employing EU workers involved almost no regulation from an Immigration perspective. The Sponsor Licence system, by comparison, does come with a level of immigration regulation, compliance checking by the Home Office and, of course, cost.

The Sponsor Licence system, however, is here to stay and it is the only immigration system businesses and organisations can use to solve acute shortages of skilled workers. A Sponsor Licence can play a crucial role in recruiting skilled workers to meet immediate commercial or organisational demands and can be an excellent source of recruitment for future growth.

A Sponsor Licence also offers businesses a serious competitive advantage to recruit international students who have graduated from UK universities and wish to live and work in the UK. By offering a sponsored skilled worker position, a business can offer an international student a route to settlement in the UK after five years that a business without a Sponsor Licence cannot offer. Businesses with a Sponsor Licence can therefore make themselves attractive to highly educated graduates and secure a competitive recruitment advantage.

Once a Sponsor Licence is in place, businesses and organisations can sponsor a skilled worker for up to five years at a time. A skilled worker is eligible to settle permanently in the UK after five years. It is an attractive visa option and as such comes with a level of confidence skilled workers will stay with their sponsor employer.

What sectors can recruit skilled workers?

Almost every sector will find occupations in their sector on the Government’s list of ‘eligible occupations’, although to varying degrees. All highly skilled sectors can recruit essential skilled professionals including Finance, Accounting, Digital Technology, Renewable Energy, Engineering, Manufacturing, Construction, Architecture, Marketing, Advertising and Design.

Specific sectors presently have fewer opportunities to recruit essential staff from the Government’s list of ‘eligible occupations’. The hospitality sector for example cannot recruit front of house staff. Of importance however, is that chefs and all hospitality management roles are eligible for sponsorship as skilled workers.

Other sectors including fisheries, meat producers and agriculture can recruit key staff including fish processors, butchers, farmers and skilled agricultural/land management staff.

The care sector has been given special consideration and care workers have been designated as skilled workers, which allows every residential care home and home care provider to apply for a Sponsor Licence and recruit carer staff from outside the UK.

Where can a business find the list of occupations eligible for Sponsorship?

The following link provides the full list of the skilled worker occupations that businesses and organisations can recruit and employ when a Sponsor Licence is in place.

How we can help you apply for a Sponsor Licence

Our specialist Immigration lawyers provide expert advice and assistance to businesses and organisations applying for a Sponsor Licence. We understand this is a new area for many businesses and organisations and the regulatory aspects can appear daunting. We aim to demystify the Sponsor Licence system, identify the positive contribution it can make to a business and provide support to businesses and organisations at every relevant stage of the application.

Our Sponsor Licence application services include:

  • Consulting with you to explain the steps involved in applying for a Sponsor Licence and identify the skilled workers that can be employed by you
  • Assessing your suitability to apply for a Sponsor Licence including relevant personnel being in place to satisfy the requirements of holding a Sponsor Licence
  • Advising in detail on information and documentation that is required to prepare the Sponsor Licence application
  • Preparing the Sponsor Licence application and collating all required supporting evidence
  • Guiding you through submission of the application to the Home Office
  • When the Sponsor Licence is granted, providing introductory training to you on the main requirements to manage and comply with your Sponsor Licence

Additional Services after a Sponsor Licence is granted

After a Sponsor Licence is granted we can offer additional services, including:

  • Providing ongoing support to properly manage the Sponsor Licence and comply with all relevant Home Office compliance rules
  • Assisting in the preparation and submission of Skilled Worker visa applications
  • Training in respect of Sponsor Licence management and compliance
  • Carrying out audits in respect of Sponsor Licence compliance

The level of support a business requires to manage and comply with a Sponsor Licence depends both on the level of use of the Sponsor Licence and the HR personnel a business has in place. We can assist in identifying the level of knowledge, expertise and capacity that exists in-house, provide full training of relevant personnel or provide a full support service.

Why choose us?

Recruitment is and will continue to be a major issue for some time to come. We understand the daily pressures on businesses and that entering the Sponsor Licence system can be daunting. From the outset we will explain the system in straightforward terms and identify the specific recruitment opportunities it can provide to your business.

We provide a full support service to apply to the Home Office for a Sponsor Licence. When a Licence is granted, we will assess with you the level of training and support required to make your Sponsor Licence as stress free as possible and deliver tangible benefits to your business.

Our specialist team recognises that business immigration in large part relates to the recruitment and retention of workers, and for this reason our Immigration law experts are embedded within the Employment law team. This enables us to provide a comprehensive service in respect of all areas of Employment and Immigration law.

Speak to our Sponsor Licence specialists today

If you’re looking for Sponsor Licence advice, get in touch with our experts today.

Contact us by filling out the enquiry form or emailing Mark below.