Sponsor licences become ‘essential’ part of business plans

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Comments by Sanwar Ali:

It is obviously the case that after Brexit many more businesses should be applying for a UK sponsor licence to employ migrants under the Skilled Worker visa scheme.  Free movement for new EU migrants no longer exists.  It is interesting that it is apparently still the case, as previously reported, that only about 3% of UK employers have a sponsor licence.  Even if businesses say that they will apply for a sponsor licence will they in fact do so in practice?

It also has to be said that the Skilled Worker visa scheme is very expensive.  It is likely to cost about £7,000 just to bring in one employee into the UK for five years.

According to a new report published by Personnel Today, more UK companies are making sponsor licences an ‘essential part’ of their business plans. The news comes amid an analysis of Home Office data, which found that UK skilled worker visa applications made by people from South Asia has increased by a staggering 115%.

The Personnel Today report claims that the new figures show ‘the extent to which UK businesses are turning to talent in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa to plug their skills gaps’. Figures show that South Asian skilled worker visa applications reached 15,731 in the second quarter of 2022, compared with 7,327 in the second quarter of 2019.

Meanwhile, during the same two quarters, data shows that there was an increase in sub-Saharan skilled worker applications from 948 to 6,579.

UK visa rise mostly attributed to health workers

The rise in skilled worker visa applications from South Asia has largely been attributed to the number of health workers applying to come to the UK to work, and accepting job roles in the second quarter of 2022. During that period, 6,139 South Asian workers accepted posts in Britain compared with 1,386 in the second quarter of 2019.

A similar number of sub-Saharan Africa workers (5,130) accepted a role in the UK in the same period of 2022, compared with 471 in the 2019 equivalent.

Furthermore, there was a 6% rise in the number of IT professionals arriving from South Asia between the two quarters, with 4,028 accepting jobs in Britain.

According to Home Office data, skilled worker visa applications hit 35,000 in the second quarter of 2022, with health and IT workers most in demand. Figures show that the health and social work sector saw its largest ever number of skilled worker visa applications, with 15,000 made in the second quarter of 2022 compared with 11,139 in the first quarter.

The most applications came from South Asia (6,139), closely followed by sub-Saharan Africa (5,130), and then South-East Asian countries (2,112).

Communications sector

After health, the IT and communications sector was the next largest source of candidates with 4,028 of the 5,395 applications made in the second quarter coming from South Asia. The second quarter also reveals a significant increase in the number of applications made by Russians with 139 compared with 56 in the first quarter.

Perhaps predictably, on account of Brexit and the loss of freedom of movement, the number of skilled worker visa applications from Europe dropped to 3,243 in the second quarter of 2022, compared with 3,698 in the third quarter of 2021.

However, there was a 7% increase in the first quarter of 2022 compared with the second in the professional, scientific and technical sector with 4,020 applications against 3,748.

In the financial and insurance industry there was a rise to 2,869 in the second quarter of 2022 from 2,194 in the first, with most talent being sourced from India (845), the US (241) and France (164).

Immigration vital to every successful business

Home Office data shows that the number of UK companies hiring skilled workers from overseas has surged by 64% over the last two years. This is based on a reported increase in the number of businesses holding sponsor licences to recruit migrant workers on skilled worker visas.

However, another recent Personnel Today report claims that only 3% of UK businesses hold a UK sponsor licence.

Despite this, more businesses are now viewing a sponsor licence as an essential part of their overall business plan, with some quarters stating that a good immigration strategy is now vital to every successful business.

With the talent pool now on a global scale, firms are no longer competing within Britain for talent. In order to stay competitive, companies now need to look internationally.

Workpermit.com 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, Workpermit.com can help.