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The benefits of obtaining a sponsor licence: Tackling recruitment challenges in the UK

As recruitment difficulties persist, an increasing number of organisations in the UK are exploring the benefits of obtaining a sponsor licence as a solution. As of the end of 2022, over 57,000 sponsor licences have been registered. In this video, Business Immigration experts Shabana Muneer and Ruth Jowett explore the concept of sponsor licences, their different types, and the significant benefits they offer to employers.

Click here to watch our Business Immigration experts discuss benefits of obtaining a sponsor licence and how to tackle recruitment challenges in the UK.

What is a sponsor licence?

A sponsor licence is issued by the Home Office and grants an organisation permission to employ non-settled workers. Non-settled workers are individuals who do not possess the right to work in the UK, such as British and Irish nationals or individuals with specific immigration statuses that allow work. By sponsoring an individual, you enable them to obtain a UK visa, granting them the ability to enter or remain in the UK for employment in the sponsored role. When applying for a sponsor licence, you will need to specify the immigration route or routes through which you intend to sponsor workers. The most common routes include the Skilled Worker and Global Business Mobility: Senior or Specialist Worker routes.

Different types of licences and their purposes

The Skilled Worker route serves as the primary immigration pathway for overseas nationals seeking employment in the UK. It allows UK-based employers to directly recruit and employ skilled overseas workers to fill a wide range of job vacancies.

The Senior or Specialist Worker route, previously known as Tier 2 ICT, is utilised to bring specialist employees and senior managers from overseas group companies to the UK for temporary assignments. The key requirement is that the worker must already be employed by an overseas company connected to the UK sponsor through common ownership or control, or in some cases, as part of a joint venture between the two companies.

The importance of having a sponsor licence

Obtaining a sponsor licence is becoming increasingly crucial for organisations struggling to fill vacancies. Further to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) report discussed in the video, according to a press release from the BCC on April 25, 2023:

  • 59% of surveyed businesses are trying to recruit
  • 80% of businesses attempting to recruit are facing difficulties.
  • Sectors such as manufacturing and hospitality are particularly affected, with both sectors reporting an 83% recruitment difficulty rate.

The BCC has proposed a three-point action plan, including an extension of the shortage occupation list, to facilitate the arrival of sponsored migrant workers for roles experiencing acute shortages. Immigration is expected to play a significant role in addressing labour shortages.

Sponsor licences have gained even more importance since Brexit. Previously, EU citizens comprised a substantial portion of the UK’s labour force. However, since July 1, 2021, EU nationals and their family members have been required to hold immigration status to have the right to work. Consequently, sponsorship is now necessary for EU nationals unless they possess alternative immigration statuses such as pre-settled or settled status.

Benefits of obtaining a sponsor licence

There are several key benefits to holding a sponsor licence:

  • Loyalty: Sponsoring a worker fosters loyalty, as their right to work in the UK is tied primarily to their employment with the sponsor. This provides stability for long-term business planning, ensuring a reliable workforce.
  • Competition: With an increasing number of organisations obtaining sponsor licences, holding one allows you to compete effectively in the talent market. As of the end of 2022, over 57,000 organisations were registered as work sponsors, indicating a growing trend.
  • Access to specialised skills: A sponsor licence makes it easier to find individuals with specialised skills and experience, particularly when there is a shortage of suitably skilled workers in the resident labour market. This enables you to attract and hire the best person for the job.

The benefits of obtaining a sponsor licence – how we can help

Contact Shabana or Ruth to explore how you can tackle your current recruitment challenges, understand the benefits of obtaining a sponsor licence and the significant benefits they offer to employers.

Want to learn more from our Business Immigration experts and be the first to receive important updates, developments and events from the team? Then visit our Business Immigration Hub page or sign up for our updates here.



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