Hiring migrant workers

Under the new points-based UK immigration system, the old Tier 2 (General) category is replaced by the Skilled Worker category.

The headline changes between the two routes include:

  • Removal of the Resident Labour Market Test
  • Suspension of the monthly limit on eligible applicants
  • Reduction of the minimum skills threshold to NQF Level 3 (A-level standard)
  • Reduction of the minimum salary level to £25,600 or the going rate for the job

In order to qualify as a skilled worker, applicants must obtain a total of 70 points under the new system. A core 50 points will be earned from a job offer at a certain skill level from a licensed sponsor, with the applicant being able to show evidence of their English Language ability.

The final 20 points may be obtained via a “tradeable” or mix and match process. These points will usually come from the salary that is being offered but can also be obtained from shortage occupation roles and by having a relevant PhD-level qualification.

 

Sponsor licence guidance

If you are looking to recruit any Skilled Workers from outside of the UK, you will need to apply for a skilled worker sponsor licence.

Below are the steps you can follow to apply for a Skilled Worker sponsor licence:

 

What happens after applying for a sponsor licence?

After you have submitted the sponsorship licence application to the Home Office, you will receive information on whether or not it has been successful.

If you have been granted a sponsor licence you will be given a licence rating. This may be either an A rating or a lower (temporary) B rating if the Home Office has any concerns regarding the business. With a B rating, you will have further checks in the upcoming months giving you the time you bring yourself to an A rating, failure to do so could result in the suspension or revocation of your licence.

If a job role in the business is eligible for sponsorship and a suitable resident worker cannot be recruited, a Certificate of Sponsorship may be issued to a migrant worker, who may use that certificate to apply for their Skilled Worker visa.

 

The new points-based UK immigration system

In order to qualify as a Skilled Worker, applicants must obtain a total of 70 points.

A core 50 points will be earned from a job offer at a certain skill level from a licenced sponsor, with the applicant being able to show evidence of their English Language ability.

An additional 20 points may be obtained via a “mix and match/ tradeable” process, largely dependent on the salary rate offered, but also encompassing roles that are recognised as being a shortage occupation and those jobs requiring a relevant PhD-level qualification.

The below table outlines all of the opportunities for points.

CharacteristicsMandatory/TradeablePoints
Offer of a job by an approved sponsorMandatory20
Job at an appropriate skill levelMandatory20
Speaks English at the required levelMandatory10
Salary of £20,480 to £23,039 or at least 80% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher)Tradeable0
Salary of £23,040 to £25,599 or at least 90% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher)Tradeable10
Salary of £25,600 or above or at least the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher)Tradeable20
Job in a shortage occupation as designated by the Migration Advisory CommitteeTradeable20
Education qualification: PhD in a subject relevant to the jobTradeable10
Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the jobTradeable20

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