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  • Alastair Blair

All the legal help you need to hire foreign workers

If you want to recruit workers from overseas it’s quite confusing just now.  In December last year, the UK government announced a huge increase in the threshold salary for anyone recruited from overseas, taking it from £26,200 to £38,700.  Although health care workers and professions such as teachers (where there are national pay scales in the UK) were exempt and could still qualify for the visa at the lower salary level, this new measure was brought in to try to reduce the number of immigrants to the UK as it is a hot political topic in the country just now.


However, having announced this near 50% rise in the minimum salary threshold which immigrants would need to be paid by their UK employer in order to obtain a visa, the UK government rapidly changed its mind, announcing that the increase would be made in two stages.  The first, which will apply from this coming spring, will see the threshold only rise to £29,000.  Then, in 2025, the £38,700 threshold will be applied.  Of course, by that time, the UK may have a new government, willing to take a different approach to legal immigration, so it could get more confusing in the future!


However, for those companies who want to recruit overseas workers (and there are many skills shortages that British firms are seeking to fill by bringing in people from abroad), the need to ensure that every aspect of the legal process is watertight – especially with all the changes in the pipeline - is now more important than ever.


That’s where we can help.

To get a Sponsor Licence, to allow you to recruit from overseas, you need to be aware of the four key steps you need to take.  These are:


1.     Check your business is eligible before you apply

2.     Then decide what type of licence you want to apply for. Generally, most employers apply for a Tier 2 licence. This licence means their employees can usually work for up to six years in the UK. If you are looking to employ someone for a shorter period, say 12-24 months, you need a Tier 5 licence.

3.     You need to appoint a person in your organisation to be the Sponsorship Manager. This person will need to handle all the information that flows between your organisation, the employee and the Home Office.

4.     Finally, you have to make an online application for the sponsor licence (ensuring you pay the fee at the same time!).


As a sponsor you have certain legal responsibilities as well as a legal duty to maintain certain standards and requirements as set out by the UK Home Office.

You need to check that your foreign workers have all the necessary qualifications and/or professional accreditations required to do their jobs. You must keep a record and copies of these documents as evidence and be able to show them to the Home Office on request.

It’s imperative that you only assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to migrants for roles that are suitable for sponsorship.  You can check the list of suitable roles for Skilled Worker visas here.


You must contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) if your sponsored workers are not complying with any of the conditions of their visa.

You must also contact UKVI if there are any changes with your business such as address, name or if the business becomes insolvent or ceases trading.


We can help keep you on the right side of the law, assisting you to become registered with the Home Office as a Sponsor (at Tier 2 or Tier 5) and, more generally, helping you understand what you have to do, when you have to do it, and also what paperwork requires to be done at each stage of the process. It’s much easier if you get it right first time.

I look forward to helping you. You can contact me here.

Silvia Rodriguez Molina

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