Autumn Budget 2021: The Impact on Employment and Immigration

autumnbudgetimpactonemploymentandimmigration

The autumn 2021 budget highlights changes in both employment and immigration sectors. We shall discuss these changes below. 

Employment 

While this budget did not include any significant changes to employment law, there are some key changes to note.  

National living wage 

The national living wage is the lowest hourly amount that an individual aged 23 or over can be paid. The lower national minimum wages applies to employees under the age of 23 and apprentices. From 1 April 2022, these rates shall increase to:

  • £9.50 per hour for those over the aged 23 or over
  • £9.18 per hour for those aged 21 to 22
  • £6.83 per hour for those aged 18 – 20 
  • £4.81 for those under the age of 18 and apprentices 

With less than six months before the changes come into effect, employers should begin to consider the financial implications of these increases and ensure compliance with this change. Should employers fail to pay the correct minimum wage, they may face an employment tribunal claim from any affected employee(s). 

Health and social care levy 

As a result of the government’s increased spending and borrowing due to Covid-19, a new Health and Social Care levy has been introduced to increase the amount of tax each employee pays with the levy going to support the NHS and social care bodies. The levy will increase national insurance contributions by a 1.25% from April 2022 which shall be replaced by a new payment, separate to national insurance, of 1.25% in April 2023. 

This increase in tax will leave employers facing an increase in costs and employees with a lower take home salary. As a result, employers may receive questions regarding the benefits they provide and flexible working options. Therefore, employers should review their existing work arrangements and benefits packages to assess if they are fit for purpose, should employees request remote/flexible working. 

Immigration 

The Autumn 2021 budget confirms that the government are continuing with their plans to reform the UK’s immigration system to focus on attracting highly skilled workers to the UK. 

Scale-up visa 

With 49% of the UK’s fastest-growing businesses having at least one foreign-born co-founder and approximately 40% of all fintech employees in the UK being from overseas, the budget recognised the need for innovative businesses to have access to the talented and skilled individuals they need for their business to succeed. As a result, to attract highly skilled individuals and support inward investment, the Scale-up, will launch in the spring of 2022. In order to be eligible to apply for a scale-up visa, individuals must:

  • Pass the English proficiency requirement
  • Have a high-skilled job offer from an eligible business
  • Have been offered a salary of at least £33,000. 

Global Talent Network 

One launched, the Global Talent Network, will proactively find and bring highly skilled people to the UK who specialise in key science and technology industries. Through working with businesses and research institutions, the network will identify the skills needed in the UK and source talent from overseas to provide these skills. Initially, the network shall focus on the Bay Area and Boston in the US and Bengaluru in India. 

High Potential Individual Route 

The High Potential Individual Route will be open to individuals who have graduated from a ‘top global university’ to come to the UK. While the government has yet to confirm the institutions that will be considered a ‘top global university’, and whether the route is for certain sectors only, it has clarified that eligible individuals will not require a job offer or sponsorship from a registered employer. This route may provide a path to permanent settlement in the UK. 

Global Business Mobility Route

Appearing to combine the Intra-Company Route and the Representative of an Overseas Business route, this route is aimed at businesses with no UK presence who would like to establish themselves in the UK. Via this route, businesses will be able to:

  • Send multiple workers to the UK
  • Second workers abroad to a UK business with whom they have a high value contract of investment
  • Send employees and graduate trainees to the UK entity of an overseas company. 

Much like the current skilled worker visa, it is anticipated that this route will require employees to be monitored by the Sponsor Management System. 

How we can assist

Should you have an immigration or employment law query please contact a member of our team via email at contact@davenportsolicitors.com or telephone via 02079036888.

New immigration routes for 2022

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As a result of Brexit, the UK is free to put in place its own immigration system. Consequently, the government has introduced a number of new visa routes which shall be effective from 2022.

The aims of the new system 

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak has declared that he intends to make Britain the “best place in the world for high-growth, innovative companies” by attracting outstanding talent in tech and science. In order to achieve this, the visa reforms announced are aimed “at highly skilled migrants”, making it easier for highly educated individuals to gain entry to the UK. 

As well as reviewing the routes into the UK, the government have also pledged to simplify the Immigration Rules to make them as “user-friendly and accessible as possible”, be flexible on how applicants can provide supporting evidence and the ability for certain applicants to upload their supporting evidence digitally. 

Reforms to the current sponsor routes 

With regard to the sponsor routes, specifically the skilled worker route, the government have vowed to improve the current system to permit employers to recruit overseas workers equipped to start work in the UK faster than any other G20 county. 

It is proposed the process will be speed up by allowing individuals to submit their passport and a facial image via their mobile phone rather than requiring them to attend an in-person appointment. Further, a sponsors use of the application system shall be simplified through the proposed introduction of automated checks with HMRC and Companies House to identify sponsors and users that can have fast track approval. However, the government have also announced that are consider introducing trust rating for sponsors based on their history of compliance. 

The introduction of an unsponsored points-based route

In spring 2022 a new, unsponsored points-based route will be introduced with the aim to attract the very high skilled and academically elite. Via this route, individuals with a job offer at the required skills level from a recognised UK scale-up to qualify for a fast-track visa, without the need for sponsorship. However, applicants will still need to meet the minimum required points to apply.

The introduction of a Global Business Mobility route

In addition to the above, the government are planning to create a single Global Business Mobility route by spring 2022. The Global Business Mobility route will simplify the UK immigration offer for business by bringing together, reforming and expanding a number of existing routes already in place for this purpose. The new route will incorporate: 

  • Existing provision for intra-company transferees.
  • Existing arrangements implementing the UK’s trade commitments in respect of contractual service suppliers and independent professionals.
  • Arrangements for employees of an overseas business assigned to the UK to establish a branch or subsidiary of that business. It is anticipated that the existing rules which restrict the overseas representation to one individual per business will be relaxed and the number of representatives permitted will depend on, for example the size of the investment the company makes into the UK. 
  • The addition of a provision to accommodate the import and export-related secondments.  

Expansion of the Youth Mobility Scheme 

The Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) is a programme through which nationals of participating countries, aged 18 to 30, can live and work in the UK for up to two years. Migrants who come to the UK via the YMS can work in the UK without sponsorship, but they cannot bring their dependents to the UK. 

From 2022, Iceland and India will be added as partners to the YMS without deemed sponsorship status. This means that applicants from Iceland and India will be required to provide evidence of sponsorship which was issued to them no more than six months before the date of their application. There are 1,000 places on the scheme for Icelandic nationals and 3,000 places for Indian nationals. 

There is an additional requirement for Indian applicants which can be met through education or work experience. To satisfy the requirement through education, applicants will need to hold a qualification equal or above RQF level 6 (degree level) and provide written evidence confirming the institution they studied and graduate from. If the applicant would like to meet the requirement through work experience, they must have worked a minimum of three years in a professional role equivalent to an occupation in the appendix of skilled occupations. The applicant would need to provided supporting evidence, such as pay slips and/or a letter from their employer confirming their employment. 

How we can assist 

Our team of expert immigration lawyers can work with you to ascertain your needs in order to advise you on the most appropriate route into the UK. Should you want to speak to a member of our immigration team about your potential routes to the UK, please contact us via email at contact@davenportsolicitors.com or telephone via 02079036888.

Preparing for the new UK Immigration system and Brexit – Points for employers consideration

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Defined or Undefined Certificate of sponsorship (CoS)

If an organisation has a sponsor licence, they would need to assign a defined or undefined CoS to the migrant worker in order that the migrant worker can apply for their skilled worker or other sponsored visa. It is important for the organisation to assign the correct CoS. So, what is the difference between a defined and undefined CoS?

Undefined CoS

Undefined CoS are to be used for those who are already in the UK and who can lawfully apply under the Skilled worker route, such as a student switching to Skilled worker route or an employee and for those who are applying under the other routes, whether in the UK or overseas.

When an employer applies for a sponsorship, they will be asked to confirm how many CoS they require. If they require more, once using up the initial allocation they can request further CoS. They will need to provide an explanation as to why they require further CoS.

There is a priority service available to expediate the request. The cost is £200 per request. If the priority service is not used it can take up to 18 weeks for the Home Office to process the request to increase the allocation.

Any CoS that has not been assigned would expire on 5 April each year.

Defined CoS

A defined CoS should be assigned to those who are applying from overseas. Sponsors would need to make a request via the Sponsorship Management System (SMS) for a defined CoS. When applying for a defined CoS the Home Office may ask for further information such as how the individual was identified. Therefore, sponsors should ensure that they are able to provide the information. Although the resident labour market test has been abolished, it is good HR practice to have a formal recruitment process, advertise the position and retain evidence of the advertisement(s).

Once the defined CoS request has been granted. It can be assigned to the migrant worker. It must be assigned to the migrant worker within 3 months or it will expire and the sponsor would need to complete the process again.

For advice on applying for a sponsor licence or more information about assigning the correct certificate of sponsorship, contact our expert Immigration team on 0207 903 6889 or email: contact@davenportsolicitors.com.

UK’s Shortage Occupation List

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The professions that appear on the Shortage of Occupation List are considered to have lack of workers currently in the UK, making their skills desirable to the UK. Consequently, it is easier for employers to recruit individuals for vacant positions on the list, than those not.

The following professions are on the current United Kingdom Shortage of Occupation list and employers need to select the most appropriate when assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to the worker:

• Biological scientists and biochemists (2112)
• Engineering Geologist (2113)
• Hydrogeologist (2113)
• Geophysicist (2113)
• Geophysicist (2113)
• Geoscientist (2113)
• Geologist (2113)
• Geochemist (2113)
• Technical Services Manager in the decommissioning and waste areas of the nuclear industry (2113)
• Senior Resource Geologist and staff geologist in the mining sector (2113)
• Archaeologists (2114)
• Civil engineers (2121)
• Mechanical engineers (2122)
• Electrical engineers (2123)
• Electronics engineers (2124)
• Design and development engineers (2126)
• Production and process engineers (2127)
• Engineering professionals not elsewhere classified (2129)
• IT business analysts, architects and systems designers (2135)•
• Programmes and software development professionals (2136)
• Web design and development professionals (2137)
• Information technology and communications professionals not elsewhere classified (2139)
• Medical practitioners (2211)
• Psychologists (2212)
• Veterinarians (2216)
• Medical Radiographers (2217)
• Occupational therapists (2222)
• Speech and language therapists (2223)
• Nurses (2231)
• Secondary education teaching professionals (2314)
• Bio-information (2425)
• Informatician (2425)
• Architects (2431)
• Quantity surveyors (2433)
• Social workers (2442)
• Quality control and planning engineers (2461)
• Paramedics (3213)
• Dancers and choreographers (3414)
• Skilled orchestral musicians who are leaders, principals, sub-principals or numbered string positions, and who meet the standard required by internationally recognised UK orchestras. The orchestra must be endorsed as being internationally recognised by the Association of British Orchestras (3415)
• Arts officers, producers and directors (3416)
• Graphic designers (3421)
• High integrity pipe welder where the job requires three or more years’ related on-the-job experience (5215)

• Skilled chef where:
• the pay is at least £29,570 per year after deductions for accommodation, meals etc; and
• the job requires five or more years relevant experience in a role of at least equivalent status to the one they are entering; and
• the job is not in either a fast food or standard fare outlet; and

The job is in one of the following roles:
• executive chef – limited to one per establishment
• head chef – limited to one per establishment
• sous chef – limited to one for every four kitchen staff per establishment
• specialist chef – limited to one per speciality per establishment

Please note that the Scotland Shortage Occupation List may differ.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) regularly reviews the list, and upon the presentation of evidence, certain professions may be added/removed from the list. The list above is accurate at the time this article was published.

If you would like to recruit a worker from overseas and needs assistance, our expert Immigration Lawyers can help you. To speak to a member of our immigration team please contact us via telephone on 02079036888 or email via contact@davenportsolicitors.com.

The new Frontier Work Permit: Who can apply?

The new Frontier Work Permit

This article shall examine the new Frontier Work Permit which allows EU workers, who worked part time in the UK before Brexit, to continue to do so.

Who is a frontier worker?

A frontier worker is someone who lives in one EU country and works in another.

Can a frontier worker apply for (pre) settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme?
Frontier workers who travel to and from the UK may spend enough time in the UK to qualify under the EU settlement scheme.

If they do not, they may be able to apply for a Frontier Work Permit which allows nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein to come to the UK to work whilst continuing to reside elsewhere in the EU, provided that have worked in the UK before 31 December 2020.

Who can apply for the Frontier Work Permit?

To apply for a Frontier Work Permit, an individual must:

  • Live outside the UK;
  • Have worked in the UK by 31 December 2020;
  • Be a national of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein;
  • Have kept working in the UK at least once every 12 months since the date they commenced working the UK.

An Irish frontier worker does not need to apply for a Frontier Work Permit but may choose to do so. However, workers who are a British citizens, including those who have dual citizenship, cannot apply.

Applying for a Frontier Work Permit

The Frontier Work Permit route is open and applications can be made online. There is no application fee, however, in limited circumstances, an applicant may be required to pay a fee to submit their biometric information (photograph or fingerprints). There is no deadline when applications must be made but frontier workers who want to enter the UK after 1 July 2021 will require the permit. If a frontier worker would like to continue to work and enter the UK before 1 July 2021, they will need their passport or national identity card.

What can a successful applicant do?

A successful applicant’s Frontier Work Permit will be granted for a minimum of 2 years and maximum of 5 years depending on whether they are a retained worker or not. An applicant who is successful will be able to work, rent property and access benefits and services (including the NHS) in the UK so long as they meet the relevant requirements.

Entering the UK as a frontier worker for the first time after 31 December 2020

Frontier workers who have not worked in the UK before 31 December 2020 will be required to obtain the appropriate visa and must have a sponsor who is a UK business, holding a valid sponsor licene. The appropriate visa will depend on the individual circumstances of each worker.

It is important that all organisations conduct right to work checks to ensure all individuals they employee have the right to work in the UK.

If you are a frontier worker or employ frontier workers and would like to speak to an expert immigration lawyer about your rights to enter the UK, please do not hesitate to call us on 02079036888 or email us via contact@davenportsolicitors.com.

Brexit – UK Immigration: Changes to the work visa requirements

As a result of Brexit, the Tier 2 (General) visa was replaced with the Skilled Worker visa, consequently the requirements to obtain a worker visa changed.

There are several similarities between the two systems, most notably that an applicant must hold a valid job offer from an UK employer who is holds a valid sponsorship licence. We will examine the changes in the requirements under the new system.

Sponsorship

Employers will need to issue the applicant with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) confirming their personal details and information regarding the role on offer. They must also now ensure that they include their PAYE on the CoS.

The skill requirement

To obtain a Tier 2 (General) visa, an applicant required a job offer that was at degree level, or equivalent (RQF level 6 or higher). This requirement has been lowered under the Skilled worker visa to occupations that require A-level or equivalent (RQF level 3) skill level. However, as under the previous system, it is not necessary for the applicant to hold the formal qualification associated with the skill level, just the job skill requirement is A-level or higher.

The salary requirement

A Skilled worker visa applicant must be paid a salary which is at least equal to the general salary threshold or the ‘going rate’ for the position (as stated in the positions SOC code), whichever is higher.

A Tier 2 (General) visa required an applicant to hold a job offer with an annual salary of £30,000. However, this amount has been reduced to £25,600 under the Skilled Worker route. An applicant’s salary is based only on their basic salary only and does not include any bonus or allowance an applicant may receive.

The English language requirement

An applicant will still be required to prove their knowledge of the English when applying for a Skilled Worker visa, as they would have previously for a Tier 2 (General) Visa. However, under the new system, applicants who obtained their GCSE/A-Levels or Scottish Higher in English or have a degree taught in English will not need to take an English language test.

The Resident Labour Market Test

Under the previous system, there was a requirement that in some circumstances, an employer would have to advertise the role before the applicant was offered the position. Under the new scheme, this is no longer required which is likely to make the process quicker.

Maintenance requirement

An A rated sponsor can still certify maintenance, or the migrant can satisfy this requirement by showing that they have access to at least £1270 and have held these funds for at least 28 days.

Criminal record certificate

Applicants who work in certain occupations such as a health, social care and education, will need to provide a criminal record certificate for any country in which they have lived for 12 months or more in the last 10 years.

‘Cooling off period’ and maximum length of visa

Previously, the Tier 2 cooling off period did not allow an individual who held a Tier 2 visa from returning to the UK for a period of 12 months after their visa expired, on another Tier 2 visa. Under the new post-Brexit system, the cooling off period has been removed.

Under Tier 2 (General), the maximum period of stay was six years (with most applying for indefinite leave to remain after five years), this has now been removed.

In-country switching

Provided that the applicant holds a visa that allows them to work or study in the UK, it is now possible that holders of Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer, Tier 5 Youth Mobility and Tier 2 family members will be able to apply for a Skilled worker visa from within the UK, rather than needing to return to their home country to apply.

Intra country transfers (ICT) visa

Applicants will be allowed to switch into the Skilled worker route, if eligible.

An overseas intra company transferee cannot hold an ICT visa for more than 5 years in any six year period, except where they qualify to be granted up to nine years on the basis of their high salary.

The high earner threshold has been reduced from £120000 to £73900. They will also be exempt from the requirement to work for the overseas business for twelve months prior to entering.

The ICT route will not lead to settlement, but it would be possible to switch to the skilled worker category.

Applying for Indefinite leave to remain

The rules for settlement are pretty much the same. The only change is that the salary threshold has been lowered and “Appendix Continuous Residence” confirmed that absences due to pandemic-related travel disruptions will not count toward the 180-day absence limit.

When calculating the 180 days, any period spent outside the UK will not count towards the 180-day limit if the absence was for any of the following reasons: … travel disruption due to natural disaster, military conflict or pandemic.

At this stage, applicants should not assume that remote working outside the UK, would be considered as “travel disruption”.

Dependents

Dependents will continue to be able to apply for a dependent visa to accompany the main applicant during their stay in the UK.

If you would like to speak to an expert immigration lawyer in relation to applying for the right to work in the UK or recruiting migrant workers, please contact us via email at contact@davenportsolicitors.com or telephone on 02079036888.

‘Right to Work’ Checks Post Brexit – Making Sure Employers and Employees Are Covered.

Post Brexit Rights to Work Process

Employer Rights to Work in the UK in a Post-Brexit World

Every employer in the UK has an obligation to ensure that their workers/employees have the right to work in the UK.

Right to work checks should be conducted before the employment commences and, if conducted correctly and evidenced, will provide the employer with a statutory defence to illegal employment action against them.

EU Citizen Rights to Work (UK) Post 31st of December 2020

EU citizens who reside in the UK on or before 31 December 2020 have the right to work in the UK until 30 June 2021 and can apply to remain and work in the UK post Brexit via the EU Settlement Scheme.

The onus to apply to remain in the UK via the EU Settlement Scheme is on EU workers.

Employers cannot force existing EU workers to apply, but they can encourage them to do so and provide information and support.

The Home Office Guidance warns employers, “You have a duty not to discriminate against EU, EEA or Swiss Citizens. You cannot require them to show you their status under the EU Settlement Scheme until after 30 June 2021.”

However, employers can ask the date the individual arrived in the UK to understand if this was on or after 1 January 2020.

EU citizens who arrive in the UK on or after 1 January 2021 will not have the right to work in the UK unless they have obtained a work visa under the new immigration system, for example a skilled worker visa.

If an employer would like to recruit an individual who requires a visa to work in the UK, they will need to obtain a sponsorship licence.

To avoid potential discrimination claims, employers should conduct right to work checks for all employees.

It is advisable that right to work checks are conducted once a job offer is made but before the employment commences and applicants should be asked at the recruitment stage if they have the right to work in the UK.

Conducting a Right to Work Check

To conduct a right to work check, the employer should ask the individual they to provide their original, physical passport and evidence of the right to work in the UK if applicable.

When conducting a right to work check it is important that the employer does not copy the document provided by the employee without giving it proper consideration and inspection.

They should be inspected in the presence of the holder to ensure the documents presented are for the individual and are in date.

Due to Covid-19, if a right to work check cannot be conducted in person, employers can ask the individual to send their original documents and check them against the individual via a video link.

If an employer knows or has reasonable belief that an individual does not have the right to work in the UK and still employees them, they may face both criminal prosecution and a civil penalty.

Employers should keep a record and copy of the documents they have checked, and the copy should be dated with date the right to work check was conducted.

Evidence of the right to work checks should be keep for the duration of the individual’s employment and for 2 years after the employment relationship is terminated.

Right to Work and Employment Law Advice

If you would like advice in relation to conducting right to work checks or recruiting migrant workers and would like to speak to an expert Employment/Immigration lawyer, please contact us via email at contact@davenportsolicitors.com or telephone on 02079036888.

The UK’s new points-based system – what employers need to know

Person sitting at desk writing in notepad

You may have heard that from 1 January 2021, free movement will end and the UK will introduce a new points-based immigration system. This means that EU and non-EU citizens who want to come to the UK to work will be treated equally.

The process will be similar to the current system. Under the points-based system, a migrant worker must meet a set of requirements which they would be scored against. If the migrant gains enough points they are awarded a visa to come to the UK.

What does the new system mean for EU citizens already living in the UK?

EU citizens living in the UK by 31 December 2020 will not be affected and they and their family members can apply for settled or pre-settled status via the EU settlement scheme. They must make their application by 30 June 2021.

As an employer, you can continue to accept passports as evidence of right to work from EU citizens until 30 June 2021.

What is a share code?

If EU nationals want to prove their right to work using digital status obtained from the Home Office they may do so using the Home Office online right to work checking service. They will need to provide you with a share code, which can be provided to you directly or they can send it to you via the service.

What do I need to do if I want to recruit overseas skilled workers?

If you want to recruit workers from outside the UK from 1 January 2021, then you will need to apply for a sponsor licence.

What will the worker need to show?

Under the new skilled worker system, migrants who wish to work in the UK will need to demonstrate that:

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

Will there be a minimum salary threshold?

Yes, the job offer must meet the applicable minimum salary threshold. This is the higher of either:

  • the general salary threshold set by Her Majesty’s Government on advice of the independent Migration Advisory Committee at £25,600, or
  • the specific salary requirement for their occupation (“going rate”).

Applicants may wish to trade characteristics. So they will be able to “trade” their qualifications, against a lower salary to get the required number of points.

If the job offer is less than the minimum salary requirement but no less than £20,480, an applicant may still be eligible if they have:

  • a job offer in a specific shortage occupation
  • a PhD relevant to the job
  • a PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job

There are different salary rules for workers in certain health or education jobs, and for “new entrants” at the start of their careers.

How many points are needed to apply for a visa to work in the UK?

Workers will need a total of 70 points to apply for a visa. There are mandatory points as well as tradeable points.

How will I know whether a job meets the required skill level?

There is a Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) code list. All jobs have a SOC code and each SOC code has a designated skill level. You will need to identify the appropriate SOC code which will determine whether the job meets the requirements of the skilled worker route.

What are Sponsor Compliance Visits and how to prepare?

Woman in cafe making coffee

The Home Office can undertake a sponsor compliance visit in order to assess an organisation once a sponsor licence application has been submitted.

They may also visit the organisation, once a sponsor licence has been granted in order to ensure that the organisation is maintaining its sponsorship duties. The Home Office may also wish to visit if there is a change in circumstances may also warrant a Home Office such as, a change of the company address, takeovers, mergers, TUPE transfers or establishing a UK or overseas branch.

Compliance visits can be an announced or unannounced visit. You must allow Home Office staff to enter and access any premises or sites under your control on demand. If you refuse to allow them entry it’s likely to result in your sponsor licence being refused or revoked.

What is a pre-licence assessment visit?

The Home Office may visit an organisation before making a decision on your application for a sponsor licence. The Home Office may check some of the following during a visit:

  • Whether there is a genuine need for a sponsor licence.
  • Whether current employees’ right to work documents are valid.
  • Whether you are able to offer Tier 2 employment at the correct pay and skill level.
  • Whether the number of migrants sponsored will be proportionate to the size and nature of the business.
  • Whether you have a satisfactory system in place to carry out your sponsorship duties.
  • Any other matters that the Officer may feel needs further investigation.

What can you expect from a sponsor compliance visit?

The purpose of the compliance visit is to check whether you are capable of complying with your duties and responsibilities as a sponsor. Usually, the visit may take 2-3 hours. The Office may check the following:

  • Whether sponsored migrants are filling a job vacancy at graduate level unless there is a skill level exemption.
  • Whether you are keeping the required records to fulfil your sponsorship duties.
  • Whether you are paying the migrant at least the minimum appropriate salary rate.
  • Whether you are allocating the correct Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) and whether the original number of CoS you requested is still justified.
  • Whether the information you provided in your sponsor licence application is accurate.
  • Whether any migrant is complying with the conditions of their leave to remain in the UK.
  • You are not a threat to immigration control

Will the Home Office interview staff during a sponsor compliance visit?

Home Office staff may request an interview with a Sponsor. If they do, then you must cooperate with the Home Office. The Home Office may also request to interview a migrant worker during the visit to check whether the migrant is working and paid in line with the conditions attached to their leave.

What happens after the sponsor compliance visit?

After a Home Office visit, a report will be completed, and a recommendation will be provided by the Officer. A decision will be made as to whether you would be rated an A or B sponsor.

If you have been downgraded to a B-rating, you will need to follow an action plan. Your sponsor licence may also be revoked or suspended if there is a significant breach of your sponsorship duties. This may also occur if the Home Office considers that you pose a threat to immigration control.

Points-based immigration system: how will it work?

People travelling through airport

Following our previous article The new points-based immigration system: a detailed overview, the government has revealed further details on the points-based immigration system coming into force in January 2021.

These new arrangements will take effect from 1 January 2021, once freedom of movement with the European Union (EU) has ended. It will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally and aims to attract people who can contribute to the UK’s economy. Irish citizens will continue to be able to enter and live in the UK as they do now.

New immigration routes will open later this year for applications to work, live and study in the UK from 1 January 2021 and you will be able to apply and pay for your visa online.

Skilled workers

The points-based system will include a route for skilled workers who have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor.

From January 2021, the job on offer will need to be at a required skill level of RQF3 or above (equivalent to A level). You’ll also need to be able to speak English and be paid the relevant salary threshold by your sponsor. This will either be the general salary threshold of £25,600 or the going rate for your job, whichever is higher.

If you earn less than this – but no less than £20,480 – you may still be able to apply by ‘trading’ points on specific characteristics against your salary. For example, if you have a job offer in a shortage occupation or have a PhD relevant to the job.

There will not be a general route for employers to recruit at or near the minimum wage.

EU citizens living in the UK by 31 December 2020

If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen living in the UK before 31 December 2020, you and your family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.