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  • Alastair Blair

Visa requirements for the recruitment of foreign workers to the UK


If any company in the United Kingdom firm wants to employ a non-UK resident (this includes all EU nationals entering the UK from 1st January 2021), it must first get a valid sponsor licence from the UK Home Office.


That said, it’s not necessarily a straightforward process! Let’s look at the basics…

There are two types of sponsor licences available. These are called Tier 2 and Tier 5.

The Tier 2 sponsor licence is for those UK employers who want to sponsor non-UK nationals to come to take up work in skilled jobs in the UK. The Tier 5 Sponsor licence allows UK businesses to employ non-EEA nationals on a temporary basis in the UK. This covers, amongst others, religious workers, charity workers, workers on a government authorised exchange or creative or sporting individuals (sportsmen and women are often in the media because of football clubs who want to sign an overseas player).


Next, how do you get a sponsor licence?


The first thing to do is check if your business is eligible. Typically, this involves passing various legal tests in relation to your company’s ability to monitor and manage sponsored workers, as well as not having any criminal convictions in relation to immigration and fraud or money laundering.


Next, you have to check if your job is suitable for sponsorship. Only certain jobs, at certain levels of skill/responsibility/pay are open to immigrants.


You then have to choose the type of licence (Tier) for which you want to apply.


Then, you need to decide who will manage this sponsorship within your business.


And finally, you have to apply (and pay the fee involved to the UK government!).


However, the good news is that once you become a licensed sponsor in the UK, you can issue a Certificate of Sponsorship to prospective foreign employees, who, in turn can then use this Certificate to apply for their skilled worker visa.


As with all UK immigration law around work and visas, this can be time-consuming and complex. A specialist immigration lawyer can be very helpful in sorting out the various issues and making sure that everything runs smoothly. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free preliminary chat about what we can do to help.


Silvia Rodriguez Molina

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