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UK Employers Given Extra Guidance On Worker Sponsorship


As the majority of people will be aware of by now, especially those who work with individuals on overseas worker visas, there are to be new rules coming into effect in the United Kingdom from 1st January 2021 regarding the current immigration system. The immigration system as we currently know it in the UK is set to change, with new rules coming into place for how the visa systems will work and the new, much discussed, points-based application system coming into place. In this blog post, we will discuss the new rules which have been outlined under this system for employers in the United Kingdom hiring foreign workers.

Under the new systems coming into effect in 2021, EU citizens coming to the United Kingdom to work will, under the majority of circumstances, require sponsorship for a visa, from their employer, in order to take up a role in the UK. The new immigration system has not made this process much smoother for businesses looking to hire individuals from overseas, and there are still a number of complexities to the process of sponsorship under the new system. Here is what we currently know about the new process set to roll out for hiring foreign workers after the new changes come into effect from January. 

At Westkin, our team of lawyers have a wealth of experience in helping businesses to sponsor and hire overseas workers, as well as helping individuals to get sponsorship for a new role in the UK. If you would like our assistance with this process, please do get in touch.

Changes to Certificates of Sponsorship

Under the current process for sponsoring workers from overseas (pre-January 2021), Certificates of Sponsorship are split into restricted Certificates of Sponsorship and unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship. The main difference between these two being that the first is restricted because of an annual cap of numbers, and the second is not). Under the new rules set to be laid out from January, the new titles will be Defined Certificates of Sponsorship and Undefined Certificates of Sponsorship. What’s the difference between these and the current system? A defined Certificate of Sponsorship is still one which is restricted, but not by an annual cap, but because businesses will have to request a defined Certificate of Sponsorship from the Home Office, and this can be refused.

New duties required of sponsors

The requirements that sponsors of workers from overseas must fulfil are to be extended under the new system, with a large increase on those which are required under the current rules. Most significantly, sponsors will need to provide the Home Office with more updates than currently required, in instances such as termination of the workers employment, changes to their salary and changes to the duties of their role. This, on the surface, does not seem like that great of a demand, however concerns have been raised about this point for companies who hire hundreds of overseas workers at any one period. Keeping on top of such an abundance of paperwork could prove difficult, and it would be easy to imagine updates being lost or not communicated. This brings us on to our next change:

Mistakes in documentation are likely to be penalised

There is the underlying warning throughout the Home Office’s documentation on these changes to the system for hiring foreign workers that any mistakes from sponsors who are seen as not following the rules, could result in their sponsorship license being revoked. This poses issues for both the employee and the business, with the worker having to immediately stop working for the company, and the business being stopped from hiring any more overseas workers in the future. As we’ve seen from some of the rules of sponsorship outlined above, making mistakes could easily happen for large businesses who hire hundreds of foreign workers at a time. 

Hiring workers from overseas can offer businesses in the United Kingdom with a number of benefits and can provide workers with opportunities for growth and the chance to be a part of the UK work force. It is an essential for most businesses. Despite the new changes coming into effect, the process is one which can be navigated if sponsors are prudent of the rules and regulations which they are required to follow. Often, legal assistance can be the best way to assure that your business is fully compliant. 

If you would like assistance in hiring overseas workers for your business and finding out how you can continue to do so when the new regulations come into place from January 2021 under the United Kingdom’s new immigration system, please do get in touch. One of our immigration lawyers will be happy to assist you.

Westkin Associates


5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546


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