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Government releases roadmap for points-based immigration sponsorship system

15 October 2021

On 26 August 2021, the Home Office released information about improving the process for businesses to sponsor migrants. Our employment & business immigration team shares the latest.

The change will be implemented from the fourth quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2024. In response to a 9% increase in applications in the past year to March 2021, the Home Office aims to streamline and simplify the sponsorship system, making it easier for businesses to apply for and maintain sponsor licences.

Changes in 2021

Throughout Q4 2021, the government intends to:

  • establish a service that can lend support to small and micro businesses
  • review current fees for use of the sponsorship system
  • introduce an enhanced skilled worker eligibility checking tool, making it easier for prospective employers and workers to understand if a particular job is eligible under the skilled worker route
  • pilot a salary check feature with HMRC to check employees are being paid the amount the employers committed to pay them.

2022 and beyond

After 2021, the Home Office plans to undertake a range of further reforms to streamline the application process, such as:

  • implementing a system where UKVI can re-use information already held by the government on new workers
  • creating a single online dashboard for the management of sponsorship licences
  • reducing the time it takes to receive a decision on applications
  • offering a shorter service standard for straightforward, compliant applicants
  • introducing further ways to address the barriers to SMEs making sponsor applications.

New IT management system

The government plans to build an entirely new IT system, rolled out on a phase basis between mid-2022 and early 2023. The roll-out will be split into three packages:

  • Sponsor a visa: this package will provide the functionality to invite the worker to make their visa application once the role details have been approved, and to pre-populate that visa application with role information provided by the sponsor, to save an employee having to duplicate application steps
  • Manage a licence: this will deliver an improved management system that makes it easier to carry out post-licence activities and will enable automatic checks against data held by HMRC and Companies House
  • Become a sponsor: prospective sponsors will be able to use this tool to apply more easily for a licence and will also utilise automated data checks to validate information.

Global Business Mobility route

The Home Office plans to introduce a new route for overseas businesses seeking to establish a presence in the UK, which will be launched in spring 2022. The new sponsorship system will make it easier for overseas businesses to assign and manage workers coming to the UK.

How can we help?

Willans’ business immigration lawyers have extensive experience in advising a wide range of businesses on all aspects of business immigration law in the UK. If your business would benefit from advice on the above or another business immigration matter, please call (01242 514000) or email us for support; we’d be delighted to help.

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Hayley Ainsworth BA, MSc
Solicitor
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