UK work visa: Sponsorship of EU and non-EU nationals post 1 January 2021

On 6 April 2020 the Home Office published a new version of a “Tier 2 and 5 of the point-based system: guidance for sponsors”, wherein they have provided the guidance for employers who wish to apply for a Sponsorship License to sponsor migrant workers under the new point-based immigration system that will come into effect from 1 January 2021.

There will be a single immigration system in place for EU and non-EU citizens once the freedom of movement with the EU has ended on 1 January 2021. As such, in order for EU and non-EU nationals to work in the UK legally, they would be required to obtain a valid visa under skilled worker route which will replace Tier 2 (General) visa route. The job on offer will need to be at level 3 or above of the Regulated Qualifications Framework (“RQF”) or equivalent level in Wales or Scotland. This level is approximately equivalent to A-level standard. The minimum salary threshold will be reduced from £30,000 to £25,600 (lower salary level may apply for “new entrants”). The ability to speak English will be a mandatory requirement. According to the Home Office, the applicant would be able to “trade” certain characteristics against the salary that they would otherwise be required to earn in relation to the job on offer.

Those UK based companies, who do not currently hold the Sponsorship License but intend to sponsor migrant workers post 1 January 2021, can apply for one as of now. It is important to note that Licensed sponsors would not be able to assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (“COS”) to a migrant worker at RQF level 5 or below until 1st of January 2021. The Home Office intends to start accepting applications under the new point-based system from Autumn 2020.

Should you require any assistance with the Sponsorship License application, or you require legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact our Immigration team.