Sanwar Ali: UK Sponsor Licence Skilled Worker visa 2022 Update


Windsor City Centre, England

Sanwar Ali,

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By Sanwar Ali:

The last few years have been quite dramatic for the UK sponsor licence and skilled worker visa system.  Both the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit have led to changes in the sponsor licence system.  The COVID-19 restrictions for the UK started on 11 March 2020, resulting in a dramatic decline in the number of Skilled Worker visa migrants gaining entry to the UK.

Easier to obtain Sponsor Licence during COVID-19 pandemic

During the COVID-19 restrictions period it was actually easier to obtain a sponsor licence.  The Home Office did not have office visits and so any queries could be dealt with via email.  Significant COVID-19 restrictions lasted from 11 March 2020 to 24 February 2022 a period of almost two years.  We are now seeing an increase in Home Office visits and a higher refusal rate for sponsor licence application.

Advertising may still be needed for sponsor licence applications

The resident labour market test was abolished in the end of 2020.  However, do you still need to advertise?   If you do not advertise you may have difficulty explaining to the Home Office if asked to confirm that it is a genuine vacancy.  If you have advertised the vacancy, then you should be able to show that there is a genuine vacancy.  The Home Office may  be concerned that the vacancy has not been created primarily to allow an overseas national to come to the UK.  The genuine vacancy test may cause greater difficulties if the company wishes to recruit a relative of say the business owner.

Ten working day priority service unavailable to most applicants

There are ongoing difficulties in accessing the ten working day priority service.  It is very uncertain whether applicants will be able to come under this scheme.  There is limited availability of only ten applications per day and therefore it is unlikely that you will be able to access the scheme.  Sponsor licence applications may very well take two months or longer to process. 

Can a new business sponsor a business owner under the sponsor licence scheme?

Since December 2020 there are fewer restrictions on business owners being sponsored under the sponsor licence scheme.  If you wish to start a new business and be sponsored under the sponsor licence scheme this will most likely make the application more difficult than usual.  You will usually need to have at least one person who is a UK permanent resident or UK citizen to be the level 1 user under the sponsor licence scheme.   In addition, you will need to show evidence that the business is already trading and may need to show additional evidence of the viability of the business.  It is likely that the Home Office will wish to  visit you before issuing a sponsor licence.  Another consideration may be the salary cost.  If you wish to be the director of the company the salary you have to pay may be quite high.  It may be possible to come under another occupation with a lower salary.

Who can be sponsored under the sponsor licence scheme?

Since December 2020 with the new points based immigration system a much greater range of skills levels are covered.   However, there are still difficulties in employers sponsoring people. The employee needs to either have a degree taught in English or needs to pass the English language test.  Some occupations such as more junior waiters and waitresses are not covered under the sponsor licence scheme.  The UK visa system is also very expensive. 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