Brexit preparation – Sponsor licence for employees from outside the UK

By 26th August 2020 September 28th, 2020 No Comments

Prepare For Brexit in time for January 1st 2021

Prepare for Brexit in time for January 1st because the summer is soon ending!  With the COVID-19 related news still grabbing most of the headlines, the end of transition period for the UK to fully leave the EU is getting closer. Whilst the UK left the EU officially on 31 January 2020, the transition period up to the end of the year was keeping the status quo for all things. This means that despite Brexit having already happened, nobody felt any difference in the way things were going given free movement still applies with people and goods crossing the channel seamlessly. This is about to change on 1 January 2021, when the free movement officially ends.

What does this mean for you?

This means that if you and your company wish to employ and hire a European workforce, you may need to act now.

Starting from 1 January 2021, the UK will introduce a points-based immigration system. The new system will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally and anyone coming to the UK to work will need to apply for permission in advance. Therefore, if you want to recruit workers from outside the UK, you will need to be a Home Office licensed sponsor. If you don’t already have a licence, the Home Office strongly advises you to apply as soon as possible to avoid delays.

It is important to remember that the new system doesn’t apply to Europeans already living and working in the UK.  However, those people must apply to regularise their status under EU Settlement Scheme as soon as possible. You can find out more about the EU settlement scheme here.

Who can get a licence?

A potential sponsor must:
  • Be genuine and operating or trading lawfully in the UK
  • Be based in the UK
  • Hold the appropriate planning permission or Local Planning Authority consent for the type of business operated at the trading address (if relevant)
  • Be ‘honest, dependable and reliable’
  • Not represent a threat to immigration control
  • Have no previous history of failing to carry out the sponsorship duties or unspent criminal convictions for immigration offences and certain other crimes, and
  • Be capable of complying with the sponsor duties and responsibilities, and show evidence of compliance in the timeframe and manner set out

How long does it take?

The standard processing time for an application is usually eight weeks and will start when the Home Office receives your application. You cannot expedite the process.

However, it may take much longer if the Home Office wants to visit you or ask for additional information to confirm your eligibility and how genuine your enquiry is. Therefore, it is very important to apply in advance and to avoid delays in hiring the necessary workers after January 2021.

It is highly likely that the influx of new sponsors wanting to apply for a sponsor licence in January 2021 will create a backlog in the applications. As a result the Home Office will take longer to process all applications. If you think you will need to hire people from outside the UK, you should act as soon as possible.

Please contact our highly experienced immigration solicitors from Taylor Hampton to find out more information and to assist you with the application for a sponsor licence. You can get in touch by calling us on 020 7427 5972 or submit an enquiry HERE.


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Brexit deadlines are looming for EU Citizens