Sponsorship Licence required for EU nationals from 1 January
Despite the impact of COVID-19, the Government has shown no sign of a delay in introducing the amended Points-Based-System for immigration. Post-Brexit, EU nationals who do not have Settled or Pre-Settled Status will be treated the same as non-EU nationals in respect of working in the UK, and employers will therefore need to sponsor them in the same way.
Employers who have previously sponsored non-EU nationals to work for them put their Sponsorship Licences in place after the system was introduced in 2008; those who are used to being able to utilise the EU labour market have not. This is going to leave them struggling when they need to bring in workers from Europe in the future.
In addition, COVID-19 has caused a backlog in visa applications which will need to be addressed alongside new Licence applications as and when UKVI are able to process them. Employers who do not already have a Sponsorship Licence in place could therefore find that it takes a lot longer than the current published timescale of 40 days for a Licence decision to be made.
The new Immigration Bill is currently going through Parliament so the specifics of the amended system are yet to be finalised. The indications are, however, that from January 2021 a worker wishing to come to the UK will need a job offer by an approved sponsor; a job at the required skill level of RQF3 or above with a minimum salary of £25,600 (£20,480 in certain circumstances) and to be able to speak English.
What is certain, however, is that any employers seeking to rely on non-Settled EU nationals for labour after January 2021 should be applying for their Sponsorship Licences now.
Find out more
At MHA MacIntyre Hudson, our HR Solutions team can assist you with your Sponsorship Licence application and Tier 2 (General) visa applications.
We have been appointed as an OISC registered advisor since January 2017.
Please contact us at HRSolutions@mhllp.co.uk for more information.