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LS Legal News Bulletin

How to employ foreign workers in 2022 - a step-by-step guide for the Employer

How to employ foreign workers in 2022 - a step-by-step guide for the Employer

Thursday 27th January 2022
Jasmin Bugg

In January 2022, The Mayor of London called on the government to create a temporary visa scheme to help with shortages of workers in the construction industry. The final quarter of 2021 saw open vacancies hit a 20-year high. This change comes after the number of EU construction workers in the capital fell by more than 50% between April 2017 and April 2020. Mayor Sadiq Khan now wants the government to make it easier for construction workers from abroad to work in London. The proposal invites a new visa scheme to enable workers to come to the UK for at least 12 months and work within the construction industry.

The mayor warned that housebuilding targets were at risk due to a lack of workers. "The government must look beyond their current approach to immigration and recognise the crisis that is already affecting one of our most vital industries," said the mayor. London has a more significant proportion of foreign-born construction workers, with more than half the workforce being from the EU and other overseas countries. While the plans for a new temporary-worker visa for the construction industry are being discussed, let us have a look at what options are currently in place to employ foreign workers.

What are the rules on recruiting foreign nationals in 2022?

The new immigration system now applies to all foreign nationals, with only British and Irish nationals being exempt. There are different routes available for entry to the UK to work, the most popular of which are:

• Skilled Worker visa
• Intra-company Transfer visa
• Health and Care visa
• Start-up and Innovator visa
• Global Talent visa
• Graduate visa

Who is a UK visa sponsor? Do you need to apply for a sponsorship licence?

A sponsorship licence allows a UK based employer to hire talented, skilled and qualified individuals from outside the UK. Once a company has a sponsorship licence, it will be able to provide with a prospective employee with a certificate of sponsorship, this in turn enables them to submit a skilled worker visa application.

The Home Office relies on the sponsorship system to prevent illegal working and abuse of the immigration system.

Sponsorship carries specific eligibility requirements you need to fulfil. You must not have convictions for immigration offences or other crimes, for example, money laundering or fraud. Your sponsorship licence must not have had been revoked in the previous 12 months. You should have a monitoring system to keep a check on sponsored employees.
It takes an average of eight weeks to process applications. You can apply for an expedited decision within ten days; however, this costs an extra £500.

We appreciate how vital it is to employ appropriately skilled staff to maximise productivity and efficiency. Having efficient and qualified employees leads to more success for your business. You can apply for a sponsor licence if you feel that the talent pool currently available to you in the UK cannot fulfil the job requirements you have set.

Can I sponsor for any role? - Suitable skill level for sponsored workers

Not all positions can be sponsored for the skilled worker visa. There are qualification and salary stipulations, as well as specific sectors and niches excluded. To qualify for the skilled worker visa, the role needs to be at Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) level 3 or above (A level equivalent or above).

Any proposed sponsored role must meet the criteria for sponsorship and attain the requisite 70 points under the visa route. This includes skill, salary and language requirements.

What are the documents required to become a sponsor licence employer?

The Home Office requires you to submit a minimum of four documents to support your sponsor licence application. However, there are chances when they might ask you to submit additional documents. Before making the application, we recommend ensuring that everything is up-to-date and that all your documents are ready to go. The documents that you can submit are:

1. Your company VAT registration certificate
2. Latest audited or unaudited but signed accounts
3. Evidence HM Revenue and Customs Registration, PAYE and Accounting Office Reference
4. Evidence of lease or ownership of your business premises

Please note that this list is not exhaustive. You most likely will need to submit additional documents to support your application and ensure that it is granted as soon as possible.

How much does it cost business to sponsor a visa for a foreign worker?

When sponsoring a migrant worker, there are costs involved. These may include charges for the following:

• Applying for the first sponsor licence
• Applying to renew or make changes to your current licence
• Assigning each certificate of sponsorship unless your employee is exempt from this fee
• Additional premium services once the licence has been approved

The fee for the initial sponsor licence application can vary depending on the type of licence, as well as the size of the company. There are certain conditions and exemptions which attracts a reduced fee. Please note that the licence application fee will not be refunded if the Home Office refuses the application or the application is withdrawn.
If you are sponsoring an employee under the Skilled Worker or Intra-Company Transfer routes, you may be required to pay an Immigration Skills Charge for each migrant worker.

Who pays the fee - employee or employer?

Any fees, be it the immigration skill charge, sponsor licence fee, and others charged under this application, are usually borne by the employer. The employee can contribute part of the fees, such as the visa application fees, if mutually agreed upon between the employee and the employer. It is worth noting however, that the employer cannot lawfully pass the immigration skill charge on to the employee.

Most immigration applications have strict factual and evidential requirements that are not necessarily straightforward to comprehend or satisfy. LS Legal Solicitors are well versed and highly experienced in providing advice and assistance on immigration applications. We appreciate that many of the requirements may seem overly complex and onerous. However, we guarantee to make your experience as smooth and stress-free as possible.

For the quickest response, please WhatsApp or call us on +44 (0) 75 3595 9450. You can also contact us via email at info@LSLegaLUK.com or use the contact form to discuss your requirements further or arrange an appointment with one of our experts.