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The UK will simplify the procedure of obtaining a sponsorship licence for hiring foreign specialists

The Home Office has announced changes for companies that employ foreign workers. The authorities have admitted that the current hiring procedure is far too cumbersome, long and awkward. But this year, things should be improved.

The end of the Brexit transition period created tensions. Since 1 July 2021 EU nationals have no privileges while living in the UK. Consequently, hundreds of companies found themselves in urgent need of a sponsorship licence, which they had never needed before, in order to keep their employees from the EU.

UK sponsors are about to face the following changes:

  1. Digitalisation. Modern high-tech tools will be introduced to facilitate both sponsorship licence application procedure and checks on employees. This should speed up application processing. For example, the ChipChecker service will be introduced for faster checks on those employees who have a chipped biometric passport.
  2. No labour market test. Currently, employers are required to prove that they have advertised a job for a period of at least 28 days but failed to find a suitable specialist among UK nationals. This requirement will either be scrapped altogether, or the period will be shortened.
  3. Occupations list. To obtain a Skilled Worker Visa, a foreign worker needs to include the correct qualification and the position they are going to occupy in their application. It is usually rather difficult to evaluate whether the job meets the requirements of the immigration rules or not. The authorities have promised to introduce a more transparent system so that it would be easier both for jobseekers and employers to understand the requirements.
  4. Salary checks. This point is not to about simplifying the hiring procedure but making sure the rights of foreign specialists are respected. The Home Office is going to work together with the HMRC to collect data about salaries paid to foreign specialists. As an immigration department, the Home Office needs to make sure that the minimum salary level, which is calculated on a case-by-case basis, is strictly observed by employers.
  5. Support service for small and medium-sized businesses. A special support service will be established to provide answers to all questions from employers and foreign workers and to deal with complicated and ambiguous situations. This will help to avoid numerous mistakes in the hiring process and reduce employers’ stress levels caused by having to spend a lot of time figuring out legal technicalities.

All the changes mentioned above have just been announced. However, the authorities will do their best to put the first ones in place this year. In general, the immigration system will be undergoing the reform till 2025.

These changes are caused by ambitious plans of the UK Government to convert the UK into one of IT giants and attract as many well-educated skilled and resourceful foreign specialists as possible, in order to encourage economic growth and the development of high-tech industries.

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