Sponsoring European workers

Brexit has changed the scenario completely. Now EU citizens are treated at par with any other non-British citizen from January 2021. EU employees hired after 31 December 2020 by UK employers will require a work visa like any other non-British citizen who wishes to work in the UK. From 2021 free movement between European nations and the UK is no longer in place. A new point-based system has come into force. This means all European workers arriving in the UK from 1 January 2021 will have to apply for a visa in advance. UK employers will have to sponsor to employ them as they do all other foreign workers. Employers who wish to hire European workers from 1 January 2021 will need to apply for a valid sponsor license.

Eligibility for a sponsor license

To get a license you need to meet the following conditions:

  •  You should not have unspent criminal convictions against you for immigration offences or other crimes such as money laundering
  • Your sponsor license should not have been revoked in the last 12 months.

Getting a license under the new system

If you are already a licensed sponsor you don’t need to apply as your organization will automatically be granted a skilled worker license under the new system. The expiry date of your license will be consistent with the current license. You don’t need to do anything to continue hiring skilled workers from 2021 provided you continue to comply with the rules and manage all the duties under the license.
If your organization has employed EU nationals in the UK and they are resident in the UK by 31 December 2020, the new rule will not impact these EU workers if they apply for EU settled or pre-settled status under the EU settlement scheme before 30 June 2021. For such EU workers who have an existing right to work in the UK, you don’t need to get a sponsor license.

EU workers resident in the UK by 31 December 2020

Those EU nationals and their family members who are living in the UK by 31 December 2020 don’t need to bother about their immigration status as their immigration status remains unchanged provided they register for EU settled status latest by 30 June 2021. This will enable them to continue living and working in the UK lawfully from 1 July 2021.

EU workers arriving in the UK from 1 January 2021

Under the new system, EU nationals who wish to work in the UK will have to get work visas like any other non-British citizen from 1 January 2021. They will have to apply for a point-based work visa, earn a minimum of 70 points and then only they can come and work in the UK.

Applying for a sponsorship licence to hire EU workers in the UK

If you already have a sponsor license you can do with the current license but if you have none in place and you have plans to hire EU workers in the UK through sponsorship routes from January 2021, you need to apply for a license now. The only advantage is that the EU nationals do not pay the fee of Certificate of Sponsorship.
If you are looking to sponsor a European worker, you can seek advice from our team of lawyers at Visa and Migration Ltd a private immigration law firm.

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