The new Points-Based System which comes into effect on 1st January 2021 will require UK employers who wish to employ European nationals, who have not applied for Settled or Pre-Settled Status prior to 31st December 2020,  to obtain Sponsors Licences and Sponsorship Certificates to employ such individuals in exactly the same way as applies for all other foreign non-EU nationals at present.

However, the Home Secretary has confirmed that the Government will proceed with two important and positive changes to the Tier 2 Visa Rules, under which foreign nationals apply to take up residence in the UK for employment.

  1. Firstly, the skills level for Tier 2 Permits is being reduced from RQF Level 6 (Graduate level positions) to RQF Level 3 (A and AS level positions). This means that the Tier 2 Scheme will cover a substantially increased number of positions requiring considerably lower skills than previously.
  2. Secondly, the Home Office has confirmed that the current resident labour test, under which employers have to advertise a job vacancy in the UK before applying for a Sponsorship Certificate, will be abolished.
  3. Finally, the Home Office has confirmed that it will be relaxing many of the switching provisions, which previously have prohibited individuals resident in the UK on another basis from converting to Tier 2, without having to return to their home country to reapply for a new visa.

The above are all welcome changes and we hope that the Government will maintain its position between now and the coming into force of the new Rules on 1st January 2021.

If you are a UK businesses looking to apply for Sponsorship Licences and/or Sponsorship Certificates to employ foreign nationals as well as the provision of all necessary advice on the Sponsorship Scheme and its obligations, please contact any one of our Immigration team.