From 1 January 2021, all non-British nationals wishing to enter the UK to work can apply for a visa under the ‘Skilled Worker’ route. The key points:
- The ‘Skilled Worker’ route now covers EEA and Swiss nationals as a result of the UK leaving the EU (note Irish citizens don’t need to apply for a visa);
- To employ workers under the ‘Skilled Worker’ route employers must apply for a Sponsor Licence;
- Employers are able to issue certificates of sponsorships to workers where the job is suitable;
- In respect of suitable jobs, the certificates must be issued only in respect of genuine and specific roles and the roles must have a minimum skill and salary level (subject to some limited exceptions);
- A worker must meet English language and financial requirements; and
- The worker will be given permission to work in the UK for a maximum of five years. Thereafter they can apply for an extension or ‘settled status’ to stay permanently.
Employers who wish to apply for a Sponsor Licence have to go through a rigorous and expensive application process. There are onerous duties to comply with including:
- Having appropriate HR, recruitment and immigration monitoring systems in place with detailed record keeping being essential;
- Ensuring certificates of sponsorship are issued only when appropriate;
- The carrying out of “sponsor duties” such as ensuring all compliance is dealt with and guidance followed; and
- Appointing key personnel into specified roles to carry out the “sponsor duties”.
If you require help or need advice regarding ‘Skilled Worker’ visas, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with the team at anytime.