The Points-Based System (“PBS”) allows employers to register with the Home Office to employ skilled workers from overseas. Following the UK’s exit from the European Union, many new arrivals from European countries will also require sponsorship for employment, starting in January 2021.
Note that you do not have to sponsor EEA or Swiss nationals, or their eligible family members, if they arrived in the UK before 11pm on 31 December 2020. However, employees in this category must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021, and be granted status.
Please refer to the Coronavirus A-Z page for information about temporary policy changes that affect employee sponsorship.
Rules and compliance
As a sponsor, an employer undertakes to comply with immigration laws, and to report events such as unauthorised absences or termination of employment to the Home Office. It is the employer’s duty to make sure that they are sticking to the rules when they sponsor an overseas worker, by setting pay at the right level, and keeping the correct documents on the employee’s file.
The rules for sponsors are complex, and the consequences for a failure to comply can be serious. A business that loses its sponsor licence will not be able to sponsor new employees, and a serious breach of the rules could result in a fine.
The main PBS sponsorship categories are:
- Skilled Worker: New entrants to the Skilled Worker scheme must be filling a post that is skilled to degree level, and employers must pay at least the minimum level set out in the Codes of Practice available on the Home Office website.
- Intra-Company: International companies can transfer skilled employees to work in their UK office. Transfers may be available in long term and graduate trainee sub-categories.
- Minister of Religion (T2): Religious institutions can sponsor priests and similar workers for employment in the UK.
- Sportsperson (T2): Elite sportspeople and coaches can come to the UK with the endorsement of their sport’s governing body.
- Health and Care Worker: Medical professionals can be sponsored to work in eligible NHS or social care jobs.
- Temporary Worker: There are a number of short-term categories that enable workers to come to the UK for limited periods, including Government Authorised Exchange programmes; Youth Mobility schemes, and Temporary Religious Workers.
Contact me to find out more about Sponsorship and Points-Based System.