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Sanwar Ali: UK sponsor licence review since Brexit

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By Sanwar Ali:

Is the sponsor licence and UK visa system fit for purpose?  Now is surely an appropriate time to consider the situation further since the truck driver shortage, hospitality worker shortage, fuel shortage, supermarket shelves being left empty, farmworker shortage, etc, etc.  As many had feared since the end of the Brexit transition period there has been an increase in skills shortages.   While Brexit is not the only reason for the skills shortage it has made the situation worse.  EU countries have had fewer problems with skills shortages than the UK.


It does not seem to be that long ago that you could visit the supermarket in the UK and choose from a huge array of different food and goods, available to purchase from overflowing shelves.  Probably the UK was one of the best places in the world to go shopping.


Sponsor licence does not allow in enough workers

The Skilled Worker visa system does not allow the entry of truck drivers and many other occupations that are facing skills shortages.  Suddenly the UK wants more truck drivers, with a new scheme to allow up to 5,000 visas.  Unfortunately, there does not appear to be such a big queue of people willing to travel to the UK to take on trucking jobs.  The now extended six month period to allow in more truck drivers is not that popular.  Many no doubt think that to go through all the trouble of applying for a visa is not worth it for just six months.  Apparently, only twenty visa applications for lorry drivers have been approved out of the 5,000 visas available.


Skilled Worker sponsor licence occupation list not fit for purpose

Not only is the cost of employing someone from overseas quite enormous.  There is also the problem that many occupations are not on the occupation list.  For example, truck drivers, fruit pickers and junior waiting staff are not on the Skilled Worker occupation list.  These are the type of jobs that many EU citizens used to do.  As we have seen there are not enough Brits able and willing to do these jobs.  It seems that temporary measures brought in by the UK Boris Johnson Government are not working.


Who actually fully understands the complicated sponsor licence system?

Is it really such a good idea to have a sponsor licence and UK visa system that requires guides that are hundreds of pages long?  The system is so complicated that it is easy to make mistakes.  Most of the time the employer needs a sponsor licence, then a certificate of sponsorship for each employee, which then needs to be “assigned”, then much of the time the employee needs to prove English ability perhaps with an English language test, and then finally you can apply for a UK visa.  Let's not also forget all the UK visa fees you have to pay, including certificate of sponsorship fee, immigration skills charge, health surcharge and visa fee.

It does not help that you need to have documents as exactly specified by the Home Office.   What about more flexibility?  If the employer is likely to be suitable as a sponsor and the documents tend to show this, why not just grant the sponsor licence?  Does the Home Office have to reject applications for very minor issues? can help with Sponsor Licences

If you need help with employing Skilled Workers and help to apply for a Sponsor Licence, including complying with your Sponsor Licence obligations, can help.

For more information and advice on Sponsor licences, please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at sends e-mail).