A key proposal of the new immigration system destined to start in 2021 is streamlining of the Sponsorship Licencing System under Tier 2 of the Immigration Rules.
The Sponsorship Licencing System is currently a key resource available for businesses across the UK to sponsor non-EU nationals from across the world. The Tier 2 & 5 Register of Sponsors has almost 30,000 businesses licenced under these two categories.
The Government’s proposal for the new immigration system will also require EU nationals to be sponsored under the Tier 2 regime. This means businesses will need to have a Sponsorship Licence before they are able to employ EU nationals (except those settled under the EU Settlement Scheme) when the new scheme starts. The Government has also proposed lowering the skills threshold (currently at RQF level 6) and removing the Resident Labour Market Test. This means there may be a significant increase in business applying to become sponsors under this new streamlined system. In our experience, a surge of applications to the UKVI has led to numerous delays and may lead to businesses losing key employees who they would wish to sponsor.
It may therefore be worth considering applying for a Sponsorship Licence now. This will not only allow businesses to start sponsoring skilled individuals from outside the EU from when the licence is granted but also to be ready to sponsor EU nationals when the new scheme starts.