UK Employers: Do You Need a Sponsor Licence?
Since the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020, the demand by UK companies for sponsor licences has increased. This is a direct result of EU nationals now needing to obtain authorisation to work in the UK and employers requiring a licence to sponsor them. Therefore, employers who source talent from the EU should act now and apply for a sponsor licence in order to continue recruiting workers from the EU, and the rest of the world.
The UK’s departure from the European Union significantly changed the immigration landscape. Brexit abolished the right of free movement, which means that EU nationals must now obtain permission to work in the UK, whereas previously they could work for any employer in the UK without restriction based on holding an EU passport or national identity card.
The Brexit transition period ended at 11 pm GMT on 31 December 2020. EU nationals who were resident in the UK at that time may apply under the EU Settlement Scheme for confirmation of their right to work and reside in the UK. The deadline for doing so is 30 June 2021. EU nationals who were not in the UK by that date must obtain permission to work under the current immigration rules, if they do not hold another status that allows them to work.
The main work permit route is referred to as the Skilled Worker visa. Employers must have a valid sponsor licence in order to sponsor workers under this route – including EU nationals. Note that Irish citizens and EU nationals who hold Settled or Pre-Settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme are permitted to work in the UK and do not require a Skilled Worker visa.
To obtain a sponsor licence, a company must apply to the Government and submit evidence that it is an established entity in the UK and capable of meeting its compliance obligations. This includes having sufficiently robust procedures in place to monitor sponsored workers.
The Government may undertake an on-site compliance audit of the company at any time. Therefore, it is critical to ensure that you have appropriate systems in place in accordance with the Government’s sponsor guidelines to avoid penalties and maintain an A-rating.
North Star Law’s Immigration Team has extensive experience guiding clients through the initial licence process, as well as with renewal applications. The team undertake a thorough internal review to identify any gaps in procedures and recommend corrective action, so that you are compliant with your obligations as a Skilled Worker sponsor and fully prepared in the event of an audit.
If you have any questions or need assistance with a sponsor licence or Skilled Worker application, please contact the Immigration Team and we would be happy to assist.
Tel: +44 (0)20 3432 1911 Tel: +1 (617) 599-8275
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