The UK’s immigration system is constantly evolving, and employers must stay abreast of the latest changes to ensure compliance and avoid potential penalties. The government has introduced several significant alterations to the employer sponsorship framework, impacting both the process of securing visas for skilled workers and the ongoing responsibilities for sponsoring employers.
Key Changes to Employer Sponsorship Law
- Removal of the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT): The RLMT, which previously required employers to demonstrate that they had unsuccessfully sought to fill a vacancy with a resident worker before sponsoring a foreign national, has been abolished. This simplification streamlines the sponsorship process and reduces administrative burdens for employers. However, despite the abolishment of the RMLT it is still good HR practice to advertise a vacancy. This can show the Home Office that you did advertise the role, if requested to do so.
- Suspension of the Cap on Skilled Workers: The cap on the number of Skilled Worker visas that could be granted annually has been temporarily lifted, allowing employers to recruit more skilled workers from overseas to address talent shortages.
- Streamlined Sponsor Licence Application Process: The application process for obtaining a sponsor licence, which is essential for sponsoring foreign workers, has been streamlined, making it more efficient and user-friendly for employers.
- Enhanced Customer Experience: The Home Office has implemented measures to improve the customer experience for employers, including clearer guidance and faster processing times
What UK-Based Employers Should Do
In light of these changes, UK-based employers should take the following steps to ensure compliance and maintain a proactive approach to immigration sponsorship:
- Review their Eligibility for Sponsorship Licence: Carefully assess whether your business meets the eligibility criteria for sponsoring foreign workers.
- Obtain a Sponsor Licence: If you are eligible, you may be eligible to apply for a sponsor licence or renew your existing licence if it is due for renewal.
- Understand Sponsorship Responsibilities: familiarise yourself with your ongoing responsibilities as a sponsor, including conducting right-to-work checks, monitoring sponsored workers’ immigration status, and reporting any changes to the Home Office.
- Seek Expert Guidance: Consult with an experienced immigration lawyer to ensure compliance with the latest regulations.
The UK’s employer sponsorship framework is subject to ongoing review and reform. Employers should stay informed about future changes by regularly checking the government’s immigration website and seeking professional advice.
Contact Davenport Solicitors today to schedule a consultation and discover how we can help you stay compliant with the UK employer sponsorship laws and more.