Since the UK left the EU, we have seen a significant increase in UK businesses obtaining sponsor licences to recruit non-UK citizens. This is partially owing to the end of Free Movement of workers, with EU citizens making up a substantial portion of the UK labour force, and due to a shortage of skilled workers in particular sectors.

The Government relaunched the UK sponsor system following Brexit with several changes designed to make it easier for employers to recruit from outside of the UK labour market. They abolished annual quotas and removed the Resident Labour Market Test that required employers to advertise vacancies in a prescribed way and evidence that there were no suitable workers in the UK. The current system requires employers to demonstrate that a genuine vacancy exists that meets the required skill and salary level set, making sponsoring staff much less onerous.

Why Become a Sponsor?

Many employers may be deterred from applying for a sponsor licence, with a perception that the process is too complex and too expensive. However hiring outside of the UK has become more vital for businesses to help tackle ongoing recruitment challenges. While businesses would be taking on more compliance responsibilities, having a sponsor licence encourages robust HR practices and once there is a good understanding of the system, there are several benefits to holding a sponsor licence, such as:

  • Access to Skills – Employers have access to a wider and more dynamic talent pool. This is particularity important where there are shortages of specialised skills in a specific sector. A sponsor licence gives employers access to more skills and experience, allowing you to benefit from the most talented candidates available and expand into new markets.
  • Improved Retention – Sponsorship requires employees to solely work for your business providing stability for long-term business planning and improved staff retention, leading to individual staff development and business growth.
  • Employee Diversity – A sponsor licence empowers your business to increase diversity in the workplace by recruiting employees from different backgrounds and cultures. A diverse workforce has been seen to support creativity in the work place and increase knowledge sharing that is advantageous to businesses.
  • Competition – A growing trend in businesses securing sponsor licences is proving that businesses can compete more effectively, boosting productivity as well as promoting innovation.

Our expert immigration team can support you to secure a sponsor licence and help you with ongoing management and compliance. For assistance with employing foreign staff, contact Legal Director, Tijen Ahmet.

Read our guide to becoming a Licensed Sponsor here.

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