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Why Every Business In The UK Needs A Sponsor Licence?



Mr. Daniel Koi, Solicitor at Fortwell Solicitors

On 1 January 2021, the United Kingdom (UK) will introduce a point-based immigration system marking the end of free movement. This new system will transform the way in which skilled workers from the European Economic Area (EEA) come to the UK to work because EEA and non-EEA workers will be treated equally. As a result, UK employers heavily reliant on recruiting skilled workers from the EEA will require a sponsor licence to employ EEA nationals once free movement ends.


Under the point-based system, both EEA and non-EEA nationals seeking employment in the UK must meet a set of requirements for which they would have to gain enough points to obtain a visa. This new immigration system will enable UK employers recruit and employ skilled workers from a talent pool outside the UK through a number of different immigration routes. The sponsor licence is granted by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).


There is an existing point-based system for skilled workers, and this will undergo several changes that have been proposed. The changes to be made to the current point-based system will ensure that both existing and new sponsor licence holders will benefit greatly from it. Some of the proposed changes under the new system include abolishing the cap on the number of migrants sponsors can bring to the UK every year as well as the resident labour market test which requires UK employers to advertise a job position in the UK before recruiting from outside the UK.


The new skilled worker system requires that any worker coming to the UK needs to show the following:

  • a job offer from a Home Office licensed sponsor;
  • the job offer is at the required skill level, that is, RQF 3 or above (A level and equivalent);
  • they speak English to a required standard

In addition to the requirements above, the job offer has to meet the applicable minimum salary threshold of £25,600 per annum from 2021. The interesting thing about the proposed changes especially in relation to the salary requirement is the fact that it will be possible to trade certain characteristics such as a worker’s qualifications against a lower salary of £20, 480.

This means that an applicant will be eligible to trade points if the salary offered for the job is less than the minimum salary requirement but not less than £20, 480 and they have either of the following:

  • a job offer in a specific shortage occupation;
  • a PHD relevant to the job; or
  • a PHD in a STEM subject relevant to the job


It must however be noted that a total of 70 points will be required to enable an EEA or non-EEA migrant to be able to apply to work in the UK once these new immigration rules comes into force in 2021.


In conclusion, it is evident that most businesses in the UK are dealing with the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic but it is also essential that they avert their minds to the new immigration system which will be introduced post-Brexit. UK businesses that are heavily reliant on skilled workers from the EEA and wish to continue employing from this area must endeavour to put plans in place to secure a sponsor licence as soon as possible to avoid skills shortage.


In the forthcoming weeks, there is likely to be an increase in sponsor licence applications as businesses plan in anticipation of the end of free movement of workers from the EEA. This surge will equally impact the processing times for the licence application. It is therefore imperative for UK employers to seek professional assistance with their applications to save time as well as costs.


– By Mr. Daniel Koi, Solicitor at Fortwell Solicitors.

Fortwell Solicitors is one of the most respected immigration law firms in London.  By making an appointment with one of our immigration solicitors, you can be assured of receiving some of the best legal advice available in the UK today.  We will assist you with all aspects of business and personal immigration law.  If you wish to discuss any of the points raised in this article, please phone our London office on +44203 325 7030 / +447944976161 and speak to Mr Daniel Koi.



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