B P Collins’ business immigration team advises on five things you need to know.

The number of job vacancies in the UK has soared as businesses increasingly struggle to find staff amid worsening labour shortages, despite offering perks and significant pay rises.
One of the reasons for this is that companies have found it difficult to recruit skilled staff since many international workers left due to the pandemic and cannot be as easily replaced due to Brexit and the end of freedom of movement. It’s certainly a tough time for businesses, particularly when facing other pressures such as rapidly increasing inflation and the resulting economic uncertainty.

One solution to help deal with staff shortages is to recruit skilled workers from abroad. However, this can be a daunting task, particularly when any errors in the process when seeking to become a sponsor licence holder and hire international workers on sponsored visas may result in Home Office enforcement, including licence suspensions and limitations on the ability to offer employee visas. However, B P Collins’ immigration team can help.

You’ll probably need to apply to the Home Office for a sponsor licence and recruit under the Skilled Worker Route.
Under the points-based immigration system, the majority of non-UK resident workers must apply for a visa to work in the UK. The principal route is the Skilled Worker visa, which replaced the Tier 2 (General) visa or a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa, which replaced the Intra Company Transfer visa.

To get a licence to sponsor Skilled or Senior/Specialist Workers, you’ll need to demonstrate to the Home Office that you are a genuine business operating in the UK and that you have adequate HR systems in place to meet the many obligations that apply as a result.
There are also a number of strict requirements relating to the role being recruited for. For example, to be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa, workers need to earn 70 points by meeting criteria around skills, language and salary.

The list of “Skilled” jobs which can be sponsored by an employer is extensive and expanding all the time.
Aside from stereotypically skilled jobs such as chief executives and engineers, you will also find that coffin makers, wig makers and even butchers, bakers and candle stick makers are all on the list – although that last one will depend on how the candle sticks are made. It’s important to keep reviewing the list regularly to see if the job vacancy that you need filled has made it on to the list.

Check if the roles you wish to recruit for are on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL).
The Government publishes a list of occupations which are recognised as being in short supply across the country. Science and engineering roles are heavily represented but more recently, care workers have also been added to the list. Employers are allowed to hire and sponsor international workers in these roles under more advantageous criteria than for roles that are not on the list.

Typically, this means that there is a lower salary threshold for jobs on the shortage occupation list, and that workers can earn points towards their visa more easily.

Licensed sponsors must take on detailed reporting and record-keeping obligations.
It is vital that you check that your overseas workers have the necessary skills, qualifications, or professional accreditations to do their jobs, and keep copies of documents showing this. You must only assign certificates of sponsorship to workers when the job is suitable for sponsorship. It is also important that you inform UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) if your sponsored workers are not complying with the conditions of their visa. Your licence may be downgraded, suspended or withdrawn if you do not fulfil these responsibilities.

B P Collins’ immigration team can help.
B P Collins has a dedicated business immigration team which helps employers and individuals navigate the UK’s immigration rules every day.
For advice including visa eligibility, any issue relating to hiring points-based visa workers and record keeping obligations, you can contact B P Collins’ business immigration team on enquiries@bpcollins.co.uk or call 01753 889995.

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Jo Davis
Practice Group Leader

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