How to hire overseas workers post Brexit


Brexit came into force on 1 January 2021. From this date employers wanting to recruit from outside of the UK need to follow the new immigration system. In most cases, this means that the employee will need a Skilled Worker Visa. To get this the employee needs to: 

  • have a job offer from a licenced sponsor 
  • be applying for a job that is on the list of skilled occupations 
  • speak English to level B1
  • have a proposed salary which is the higher of £25,600 or the going rate for the job 

Cost of making the application

The application process is not cheap. It costs

So, for a person from outside the EU for a five year licence it would cost £536 to get the Licence and then £2,019 (5x£364 + £199) for the Certificate of Sponsorship and Skill Charge and a further £3,120 for the Immigration Health Surcharge and £1,220 for the application fee. The costs are higher if you are classified as a large employer. There may be additional costs for certification of documents, health checks, translations etc. You can read about the employer costs here and the employee costs here.

The fees above are the normal fees. There are, as is always the case, lots of exceptions and special cases.

Steps that need to be taken

In overview, the process to bring someone to the UK is as follows: 

  • Employer checks that the job is listed is classified as a skilled occupation and that the other requirements (English and salary) are met 
  • Employer applies for a Sponsor Licence 
  • Employer applies for a Certificate of Sponsorship for each employee 
  • Employee gets all the relevant documents and applies  
  • Employee applies online for a Skilled Worker Visa 
  • Employee takes his passport to a Visa Application Centre and gets a sticker 
  • Employee gets a Biometric Residence Permit 

Is your employee eligible

Before you start the process, the first thing to do is check is if the role that you want to fill is classified as a skilled occupation. You can check this here

Then you need to check that you will pay them the required amount of money (the higher of £25,600 or the going rate for the job), which you can find here

Next you need to check that the person’s English is sufficient. (level B1 reading, writing, speaking, and listening).

How to get a Sponsor Licence? 

To get a Sponsor Licence you need to: 

One of the things you will need to do is write an application that answers a long list of questions, such as why you need to use overseas employees, the roles that need to be filled. You can see the questions here.  

You also need to post quite a few supporting documents, such as bank statements, VAT certificates, rental agreements etc… about the employer to the UKVI. 

When the application is approved you are listed in the Register of Sponsors. You can see our registration under PG&E PROFESSIONAL SERVICES LIMITED If you click here

Certificate of Sponsorship 

Once you have the Sponsor Licence you need to make an application for a Certificate of Sponsorship for each person that you want to bring over. This part of the application process is a bit simpler. You just need to provide full details of the person and the role.  

How to apply for the Visa

Once you have the Cetificate of Sponsorship you allocate this to the person. The person then collects all documents needed and uploads them.  The documents include proof of identity, proof of English skills, passport etc. You can find the full list here. The person then receives an e-mail saying if they have been successful or not. 

How to get the VISA?

Depending on the situation the applicant either gets sent (or has to pick up) a visa sticker for their passport and collects a Biometric Residence Permit. 

If you need help, feel free to contact us here

Intra-Company Transfer Route 

In this note we have talked about the Skilled Worker Route. There is another Route called the Intra-Company Transfer Route. The Intra-Company Transfer route is used to sponsor overseas employees to work in a UK branch. See here to learn more. The Intra-Company Transfer Sponsor Licence is like the Skilled Worker Licence. However, there are some important differences. I’ve summarized these below. 

Circumstances Skilled Worker licence Intra-Company Transfer licence 
Skill level RQF 3 or above RQF 6 or above 
Minimum salary £25,600/year or above but there are exceptions £41,500/year or above  
Visa duration No limits 5 years, high earners up to 9 years 
English level CEFR B1 (writing, reading, listening, speaking) Not required 
Settlement After 5 years Not required 
Previous organization experience Not required At least 12 months working for overseas business or more than £73,900 of salary 

Next steps

We don’t provide advice on immigration matters ourselves. But we can introduce you to one of our legal partners that can help you.

Overview   Brexit came into force on 1 Januar […]

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