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Apply for a Tier 2 sponsor licence says UK Visas!


Boris Johnson Brexit Day 31 January 2020

Andrew Parsons / No10 Downing Street

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Comments by Sanwar Ali:

UK Visas and Immigration are encouraging people to apply for a Sponsor Licence.  If you wish to employ newly arriving EU citizens from 1 January 2021 you will most likely need to have a Sponsor Licence.  The good news is that due to coronavirus COVID-19 in some respects it is a bit easier applying for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence!  You do not currently need to send original or certified copies of documents as part of the application.   Just copies of the documents via email will be fine.

The so called “Australian Style” points system from 2021 will not be such a radical new system as claimed by Boris Johnson.  It will be similar to the current Tier 2 visa system.  Differences include not having to complete the Resident Labour Market Test, and the minimum skill level being at Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) Level 3 skills which is approximately equivalent to secondary school, instead of RQF Level 6 skills which is equivalent to degree level. 

In an unprecedented move, the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) department of the Home Office is actively appealing to UK employers to renew their Tier 2 Sponsor Licences ahead of post-Brexit rule changes. It’s understood that UKVI is emailing employers whose Sponsor Licences, needed to hire migrant workers, expire between now and the middle of 2021.

From 1 January 2021, freedom of movement between the UK and the European Union will end. To continue hiring EU workers, employers will need a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence to issue Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) to European staff – who will have to apply for a Tier 2 visa.

Currently, Sponsor Licences are only needed to hire non-EU staff. However, the UK’s post-Brexit immigration system will see the biggest shakeup to the country’s immigration policy in recent times.

Tier 2 Sponsor Licence applicants should apply well in advance

Normally, UKVI would only reach out to Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holders a few months prior to a licence expiration date. However, the email that is reportedly being sent out is well in advance of the agency’s usual timeframe. Employers are able to ask for their Sponsor Licence to be renewed from the date specified in the email they receive.

UK visa Identity Verification System

UKVI recently announced that it plans to launch a new route for some in-country applicants to complete the application process. This will involve Tier 2 visa sponsors using the new, UKVCAS Identity Verification System (IDV) mobile application.

The app will enable applicants to upload facial images and supporting documentation without having to attend a visa appointment in-person. However, the IDV system is only available to applicants who have previously submitted their biometric data and not new applicants. This enables UKVI to ‘reuse’ a person’s biometric information.

If eligible, an applicant that has already submitted a UK visa application while in the country, and is currently waiting to schedule a biometric appointment following the reopening of UKVCAS services, will be invited to use the IDV app.

It’s understood that the IDV app will be launched later this month.

COVID-19 causes Sponsor Licence chaos 

The coronavirus pandemic has caused uncertainty among UK employers over their Tier 2 Sponsor Licences. Many feared that they would be revoked having had to make foreign staff redundant or put international employees on furlough.

Initially, the government provided very little guidance for UK employers and foreign employees when coronavirus struck the UK, forcing the nation into lockdown. However, employers have since been informed that they do not need to withdraw sponsorship of foreign nationals affected by coronavirus.

UK employers are being urged to renew their Tier 2 Sponsor Licences or apply for a new one ahead of anticipated high demand as the Brexit transition period nears its end. The new look, post-Brexit Tier 2 visa category will have no cap and is strictly for skilled workers. can help with Tier 2 Visa Sponsor Licence and Tier 2 Visa

If you need help with a Tier 2 visa, or a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, including help with complying with your Tier 2 Sponsor Licence obligations, can help.

For more information and advice on Tier 2 Sponsor Licences, UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at