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Hiring Skilled Workers Under the New Points Based System

From 1 January 2021, employers will need to register as licensed sponsors to hire eligible people from outside the UK. Free movement is ending, and the new points-based immigration system will replace Tier 2 (General) visas for skilled workers wanting to work in the UK.

The new system will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally; changing the way in which employers recruit from outside the UK.

Sponsoring a Skilled Worker

As a licensed sponsor, you will be able to hire eligible employees from anywhere in the world.To hire someone from outside the UK, the job you are advertising must meet the following criteria:

  • The job must be at or above the minimum skill level: RQF3 level or equivalent (A-level or equivalent qualification);
  • The salary must meet the minimum salary threshold. This will be the higher of £25,600 or the ‘going rate’ for that job – some employees may be paid less than £25,600, for example if their job is in a shortage occupation;
  • The applicant must speak English to an acceptable standard.

If you are a licensed sponsor and you meet the above requirements, you will be able to sponsor their application to come to the UK to work.

Sponsor licence 

Before a person can apply for a Skilled Worker visa, they need a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). Once you have applied for a sponsor licence and appear on the register of sponsor license holders, you will be able to assign a CoS.

Certificate of sponsorship

Once you have identified a person whom you wish to sponsor, you will need to enter information about the individual and the role onto an online form.

Once the CoS has been assigned, a unique reference number is generated. The worker will need this number for their visa application form.

The application for a Skilled Worker visa can be submitted up to three months before the work start date listed on the CoS.

The application process varies depending on whether or not the applicant is:

  • applying from overseas
  • extending their current permission to stay under the sponsored work route from inside the UK
  • switching from another visa route into the work route from inside the UK.

Once the application form is completed, it can be submitted online and the relevant fees paid. You will then be asked to upload supporting documents.

Visa fees 

The basic visa fees range from £610 – £1,408 depending on the length of the visa being sought, the exact type of role and whether applying from inside or outside the UK. Lower fees apply to roles on the shortage occupations list, and the fee will also be reduced by £55 if the applicant is from:

Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden or Turkey.

Visa processing times

The current stated processing times are:

  • 3 weeks for applications filed outside the UK
  • 8 weeks for applications filed inside the UK

How Osbourne Pinner can help

At Osbourne Pinner we specialise in this complex area, and are committed to getting successful outcomes for applications for sponsors and skilled workers alike.

  • We will assist you in understanding all of the Home Office rules and regulations.
  • We will verify and process all of the documentation required.
  • We will ensure your company is prepared and fully compliant with your duties.
  • We will assist you in completing the applications for your company and any skilled workers you wish to hire.

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