It is less than 13 weeks to Christmas! Shops are already stocking up on Christmas decorations and gifts. Santa is trying to get advice as to whether he needs a visa to come to the UK. This will certainly be a Christmas like no other.

Following the culmination of the Brexit withdrawal deal in January 2020 we are now approaching the next phase: DEPARTURE. In less than 14 weeks, the transition period will come to an end (as of 31st December 2020) and Britain will have departed the EU. This brings a new raft of changes to the way we import and export as well as other changes. One significant change will be to IMMIGRATION. As of 1st January 2021, freedom of movement within the EU will come to an end. The procedure for employing EU Nationals will change. In the coming months you will no doubt notice  news releases about the changes that are to take place, and Lupton Fawcett will be able to assist you with these changes, minimising disruption for you, your family and for your business.

Currently, if a business wants to employ a new employee from a non-EU country, that business would need a Sponsor Licence and the individual who is to be employed needs to be sponsored. That same individual will be subject to a points based system. One of the barriers a business faces is that for most jobs, they will need to comply with the Residents Labour Market Test. This  means that should there be a British or an EU candidate who is of equivalent skill/ experience to the non-EU candidate, then the British/ EU candidate should be offered the job. A further barrier is that most jobs need to meet the National Qualification Framework Level 6 level which refers to qualifications gained at degree level. However, after the end of the transition period, should a business wish to employ an EU National they will also need to be sponsored and shall be subject to a points based assessment in the same way as non-EU nationals do at the moment. This will mean that your business will need a Sponsor Licence. As a result, many current employers who have not had a sponsor licence before will need one from 1 January 2021.

So what is a Sponsor Licence?

A sponsor license is, in short, a form of permission that is given to an organisation to sponsor workers in its business. There are two categories depending whether the job to be sponsored is short term (Tier 5) or long term/permanent (Tier 2). Businesses can apply for both.

Having a sponsor licence comes with great responsibility and ongoing duties to inform the Home Office of changes in circumstance or non-compliance by the sponsored migrant.

From January 2021, the Tier 2 (General) route will be replaced with a new Skilled Worker route.

Will I need a Sponsor Licence?

On 30th September 2020, the Government launched a campaign to let employers know about the changes for employing individuals. Given the current pandemic, businesses may have missed this with everything else on their agenda at present.

The changes are vast.  It is likely that more and more businesses will need a Sponsor Licence. At Lupton Fawcett we have the expertise to apply for a licence on your behalf.

To assist you in determining whether you need a sponsor licence we recommend the following:

  1. Assess the nationality of your current workforce – if you are a multinational business then consider the impact the end of free movement will have on your future recruitment needs;
  2. If certain roles in your business are often filled by EEA Nationals, consider the following:
    • Salary – workers will need to be paid at least £25,600 to be eligible for a sponsorship, though there are some exemptions to this;
    • Skill – the role to be filled needs to require candidates of at least an A-level standard; and
    • English language – workers will need to be able to speak English.

It is recommend that businesses apply sooner rather than later for a sponsor licence, rather than finding an individual and then applying for a licence. This is because it can take some time for the licence to be approved, which could mean that the individual decides to go elsewhere in the interim. It is also likely that the large volume of applications as the year end approaches will result in delays in processing such applications.

We, at Lupton Fawcett, can offer expert immigration advice to guide you through the changes that are taking place. We offer our services on a competitive fixed fee basis so that there are no hidden surprises.

For more information regarding this article, assistance with applications or to enquire whether you need to make such an application, please contact Arif Khalfe, Partner on 01904 561402 or Arif.Khalfe@luptonfawcett.law

Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.

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