Sponsor Licence and Tier 2 Changes in 2021
On 24th September 2020, UK Visas, and Immigration (UKVI) released policy guidance for employers seeking to recruit workers from overseas after Brexit. As of 1st January 2021, employers must obtain a sponsor licence to hire workers from a large number of countries outside of the UK including the EU.
Employers are therefore advised to apply for a sponsor licence now ahead of January 2021, in order to avoid processing delays. Especially because of COVID-19, the Home Office has warned that there will be interruptions and lengthy delays for receiving a decision on applications.
Once employers become sponsor licence holders, either an Intra-Company Transfer sponsor or a Tier 2 (General) sponsor, any migrant workers they wish to hire must demonstrate certain requirements. These requirements will differ depending on the visa route being applied for when recruiting these overseas workers.
Tier 2 (General) route
From next year, overseas workers must show the following requirements for this visa route:
- They have a job offer from a sponsor licence holder
- Their job offer is of the required skill level (RQF3 or above)
- They meet the English language requirement prescribed by the Home Office; and
If the salary requirement cannot be met, i.e. the salary for the job will be less than £25,600.00 or the going rate, then the applicant can still apply and ‘trade’ this characteristic. This is on condition that the salary offered for the job does not fall below £20,480.
For example, this salary criterion can be traded for characteristics, such as having a job offer in the Shortage Occupation list or having a PhD for the job being applied for. This enables applicants to qualify for this visa route even when they do not satisfy the salary threshold.
Tier 2 Intra-company transfer route
Employers seeking to transfer workers from one of their company branches abroad to the UK can apply for the Intra-Company Transfer route (ICT).
From next year, company employees being transferred must demonstrate the following requirements:
- Intra-Company Transfer sponsorship by an approved Intra-Company Transfer sponsor licence holder
- Proof of at least a year’s experience working overseas with a link to the business they will work for in the UK
- Their job offer is of the required skill level (RQF3 or above) and
- Their remuneration will be £41,500.00 and above or the ‘going rate’ for that job, whichever is the higher amount
Workers whose salaries are over £73,900.00 are not required to satisfy the first requirement listed above, being to prove that they have worked overseas for a period of 12 months. Workers whose salary is £120,000 and above are eligible to stay in the UK for a period of 9 years.
Other immigration options
Some alternative visa routes do not require employers to obtain a sponsor licence for recruiting workers from abroad, such as the Global Talent Visa and the Youth Mobility Scheme.
EU and EEA (European Economic Area) citizens are still able to use their passport or national ID cards as proof they can work in the UK. This will remain the same until 30th June 2021.
Should you have any queries regarding the above information or if you require assistance with your Sponsor Licence application, please get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone +44(0) 20 3318 5794.