Sanwar Ali: UK Tier 2 Sponsor Licence and 2021 points system

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By Sanwar Ali

As expected, it seems that there will be an expansion of the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence and Tier 2 visa system in 2021.  Unless there is a delay in the Brexit transitional period more employers will need a Sponsor Licence in 2021.  In fact, the Government is encouraging more employers to apply under the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence system.

Newly arriving EU citizens will need to come under the expensive, complicated and bureaucratic UK visa system.  Irish nationals will continue to come under the Common Travel Area and so will be unaffected.

UK Tier 2 Sponsor Licence System to continue

There seems to be no indication that the system will be made any easier from 2021.  It is confusing and complicated applying for a Sponsor Licence.  Sponsor Licences can be refused for very minor reasons.  Sometimes Sponsor Licences are revoked for no good reason. 

Resident Labour Market Test no longer required

This is helpful in some cases.   Since 6 October 2019 far more occupations come under the Shortage Occupation List anyway, and so this is less of a significant change than would otherwise be the case. 

Lower skilled work and low skilled worker

The minimum level of skills required will be lower in many cases.   You will need to have a job that requires Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) Level 3 skills which is approximately equivalent to completing secondary school, instead of RQF Level 6 skills which is equivalent to a degree level job.  This should make it easier for some employers.   However, there are still numerous concerns amongst industry groups, NHS, as reported in the media about skills shortages after the Brexit transitional period.  Many workers are needed at lower skills levels than this.  The Government just expects employers somehow to find people for the low skilled level jobs.

May be possible to gain enough points with good qualifications and lower salary

Those with a lower salary but higher level qualifications may gain enough points under the new points based system.  Also, as in the current system those on the MAC shortage occupation list will find it easier to qualify under the new UK immigration points system.

End of Tier 2 visa quota

This will most likely not make any difference to the numbers of people who are able to apply under the Tier 2 visa scheme.  It is already the case that there is no quota for those Tier 2 visa applicants applying from within the UK.  There has also not been a shortage of restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS), required mainly to employ people from outside the EU for about one and half years.  The main difference is likely to be a faster and less bureaucratic system (we hope!).   The current restricted CoS quota system means employers need to apply once a month for CoSs.  If you miss this deadline it could delay a Tier 2 visa application by about a month.

EU and EEA Nationals and the new UK points based system

For EU nationals already in the UK they need to make sure they apply for settled status or pre-settled status by 30 June 2021.  Those EU and EEA nationals who wish to live in the UK should come to the UK by the end of 2020.  After 2020 unless the Brexit transitional period is extended EU nationals will come under the UK visa system that will mean the following:

  1. A complicated and bureaucratic points based visa system.
  2. Very high Government fees, amongst the highest in the World. As well as UK visa fees the immigration skills charge and health surcharge will most likely need to be paid.
  3. Minimum skills required for the job.
  4. Minimum salary requirement. 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