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Hiring overseas workers in the UK

The UK economy is recovering from the economic downturn in 2008. There are skills shortages in certain areas with many UK employers having to recruit from abroad to find suitable staff.

It's important for companies to understand the UK's various routes of entry for foreign workers from outside the European Union. This is especially true for businesses in skills shortage areas such as in healthcare and engineering.

While it was not too difficult in the past for a highly skilled individual to immigrate to the UK without a job offer or sponsorship from an employer, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) has recently closed this route to overseas applicants.

However, the UK Government still allows employers to sponsor overseas workers via the Tier 2 (general) visa.

The sponsorship process involves an employer being approved by the UK Border Agency to hire overseas workers by being granted a Sponsorship License. This grants the employer the ability to issues Certificates of Sponsorship to overseas workers that the employer wishes to hire.

A company must meet certain requirements to sponsor migrant workers including but not limited to the following:

  • The company must be a genuine trading entity operating legally in the United Kingdom
  • The company must not be a threat to immigration control
  • The company must designate a contact person who is an authorisingofficer for the sponsorship management system
  • The company must have an HR infrastructure in place to deal withimmigration control
  • The company must provide all relevant supporting documents when applying

These requirements can be of particular concern for smaller businesses on a budget. Smaller businesses may not have the resources to deal with all the requirements for sponsorship licensing. can help you navigate the UK's immigration system and help meet your goals.

For more information on the sponsorship process and hiring foreign employees, please contact one of our offices.