Tackling staff shortages – should you consider a sponsor licence?

As many employers will be aware from recent press reports, staff shortages are an increasing problem for businesses in the UK.  In our experience, many of our clients are experiencing difficulties in this area.  According to the Office of National Statistics, the number of job vacancies in March to May 2022 rose to a new record of 1,300,000; an increase of 20,000 from the previous quarter, and an increase of 503,900 from the pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic level in January to March 2020.

For the first time, many businesses are having to give careful thought to how to attract the staff they need to run their business successfully, this is prompting many employers to consider different approaches to recruitment.  Increasingly, businesses are considering whether it is now necessary to look overseas for staff.

Obtaining a sponsor licence from UK Visas and Immigration allows employers to sponsor the employment of migrant workers and potentially enables employers to access a wider pool of workers in the currently competitive job market.

Employers who wish to sponsor migrant workers must apply for a sponsor licence. There are different types of licence depending on what types of workers you wish to be able to sponsor. Employers must demonstrate that they are eligible for a licence as part of their application which involves demonstrating that the business is genuine and operating lawfully. The application process requires submission of specific information and supporting documents.

Where a licence is granted, the employer has strict ongoing compliance duties which must be complied with to avoid the risk of the licence being revoked.

Various types of roles are eligible for sponsorship across a wide range of industries.  Employers who are struggling to fill vacancies are able to explore whether the roles that they need to fill are covered by the sponsorship system before they commit to applying for a licence.  Many workers are able to apply for sponsorship under the skilled worker category.  However, there are several other routes which can be considered depending on the nature of the business and the type of role to be filled.

If your business is considering employing workers from overseas, Taylor Walton’s employment team is able to assist you with establishing whether your job vacancies would be eligible for sponsorship under current immigration rules.  We are also able to assist you with applying to become a licenced sponsor to give your business the best chance of a successful outcome. For businesses who already hold a sponsor licence, we are able to provide assistance with ongoing compliance duties for and issuing certificates of sponsorship to migrant workers.

If you would like to discuss any of these issues with a member of the team, please contact us.