The official UK departure from the EU on December 31st, 2020 has changed the immigration landscape for the UK employment market and for those who need to hire a workforce from abroad.
One of the biggest changes is the right of EU citizens in the UK. Where before, EU citizens had full access to live and work in the UK because of the free movement of people policy now must apply to get an official UK work visa called a Skilled Worker Visa that can only be granted if firstly you are applying for a skilled job and secondly if you already have a job offer from an employer that has a sponsor license. This should be a UK based company that has been granted the appropriate permission from the Home Office.
In 2020, the UK government decided to focus its post-Brexit immigration system around trying to attract only highly skilled individuals who would meet certain requirements and fill a specific selection of job roles. Since it decided to do this, it subsequently created the new points-based system and skilled worker visa.
The UK Skilled Worker Visa has officially replaced the Tier 2 General Work Visa and is now the new route that all foreign nationals whether they are from inside or outside of the EU must apply through. Applicants who want to apply for it must be able to achieve 70 points from the UK’s points-based system. 50 out of these 70 points are mandatory and can be gained from an individual being able to prove that they speak English to a B1 level and having a genuine job offer from a company that has a sponsor license for skilled workers. The remaining 20 points can be made up from a selection of tradeable criteria that you can read more about here.
On the company side, Brexit means getting in line with the new immigration system and applying for the sponsor license for skilled workers which was rolled out towards the end of 2020. In order to apply for one a company must first of all be based in the UK and be a genuine company and can prove its company accounts, tax history, vat history, proof of rent and also show that it has the appropriate human resource processes in place that can accommodate staff from outside of the UK.
The general procedure for a company to obtain one of these sponsor licenses would be to first assess the needs they have to employ non-UK based individuals. Secondly, speak to a team of UK immigration lawyers to understand the process will be and to gain an understanding of what documents and evidence they will need to show and prove to the Home Office.
Most of the applications can be made online for both individuals and companies; however in any case, it's always a good idea to ask a lawyer so you can seek proper legal advice before starting your application. Moreover, it might even be worth asking a professional law firm to handle your application for you whether you are a business who is trying to get a sponsor license or someone who has a job offer to live and work in the UK.
Both skilled worker visa and sponsor license applications take a similar amount of time process. Once you have sent your application, you can more than likely expect and answer from the Home Office within 3-8 weeks. This, however, can be subject to the state of affairs surrounding lockdowns and COVID-19 at UK immigration centres both inside and outside of the UK.
If you are a company applying for a sponsor license, you may be subject to a personal check from the Home Office to check that your business is above board before your sponsor license is issued. The Home Office is known to be quite strict and thorough with businesses who are applying for such licenses. The best thing to do is to be as transparent as possible and display all the information that is asked from you by them.
Whether you are a company or individual seeking advice about the new points-based system, the skilled worker visa or for sponsor licenses for skilled workers, then the best place to start is by seeking the most up to date legal advice surrounding these areas of UK immigration and employment law. For the most timely and reliable advice, please contact the legal team at Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors who can not only advise you but also take total control of your application.