Our team has helped businesses and employees successfully navigate the UK’s work sponsorship system since its introduction in 2008. Following the UK’s departure from the European Union, getting to grips with sponsorship has become more important than ever.
Immigration support key to weathering the UK’s labour shortages
On 1 December 2020, two key changes opened up the UK’s visa sponsorship system to a wider cohort of potential recruits:
- The “resident labour market test” was abolished from the sponsorship process. Previously, employers could only hire foreign staff after demonstrating that local recruitment was impossible. This is no longer the case. If there is a genuine vacancy, it can generally be filled by a foreign worker, so long as they meet the other sponsorship criteria.
- The requisite “skill level” for positions has been lowered significantly. Whereas previously it was only possible to sponsor foreign workers in highly skilled professional positions (the role had to be skilled to degree level), it is now possible to recruit across a very wide range of positions, ranging from chefs to care workers. This opens many more possible avenues of recruitment to sponsor licence holders.
Providing visa support to employees is an increasingly important aspect of the recruitment process. The UK’s immigration system is procedurally complex and may appear daunting. Application timing can be critical. We use our knowledge and experience to demystify the process and support you and your staff every step of the way.
Sponsor licence support
Obtaining and maintaining a Home Office sponsor licence can place a significant burden on business owners and HR staff. Our experienced team can work with you to save you time, minimise stress and maximise your prospects of success.
Licence application support
Our experts will walk you through the licence application process from start to finish. We will ensure you understand the obligations and duties created by becoming a sponsor licence holder. We will help you put together a detailed licence application submission package to maximise your chances of success. We will write a detailed covering letter addressing all aspects of the application and ensure we communicate clearly and succinctly all the relevant information surrounding your application. Before submitting your application, we will provide bespoke training on your sponsor duties so that you and your key staff have a clear understanding of your responsibilities.
A sponsor licence is valid for four years and can be renewed at the end of that period. Our team can help you maintain your licence through training and ongoing reporting. One of the licence requirements is that the licence is checked on a monthly basis. We can do this on your behalf and also provide quarterly reports. We can also conduct a mock audit to check you are complying with your sponsor duties.
Crisis management support
We can provide support and assistance if your business faces a Home Office audit or you receive a sponsor licence suspension or revocation notice. Compliance action is a serious matter as it can result in your sponsored staff losing their right to live and work in the UK.
Skilled worker visa application management
Becoming a licensed sponsor is just the first step. Once you have the licence in place, you must ensure that you use it correctly to sponsor workers within the parameters of the immigration rules. We know these rules inside out so you don’t have to.
We can help you apply for work visas for staff living overseas and for those already living in the UK. This includes assessing each potential recruit’s individual circumstances to ensure that there isn’t a more cost-effective route than sponsorship. For example, in the past we have identified individuals who in fact had a claim to British citizenship through ancestry. By identifying this at an early stage, we were able to bypass the sponsorship process entirely and save considerable time and cost.
Where required, we can also call on our accredited specialist employment law colleagues to help you formulate global mobility and relocation policies to ensure you attract and retain the best international talent.
Right to work checks
It is critical that your staff understand the consequences of illegal working and that anyone conducting right to work checks is properly trained to avoid civil penalties, criminal liability and/or reputational damage.
We offer specialist training for your HR staff and administrators to ensure that all staff carrying right to work training are properly equipped to do so.
We can audit your HR files, on-site or remotely, to ensure that checks are being carried out correctly.
Right to work advice
Dismissing an employee for not having the right to work can potentially result in a claim of unfair dismissal. We can ensure your HR staff are kept abreast of the law in this area and guide them through complex immigration situations.
Alternatives to sponsorship
Our team has helped businesses navigate alternatives to sponsorship by exploring other options such as Frontier Worker Permits for EU nationals and visit visas for employees of foreign companies providing after-sales service to UK companies.