Date: 17/07/2019It is now clearly established that those European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals who are in the UK at the date of Brexit (and who arrive under any transitional arrangements if there is in fact a deal) will be permitted to keep on living and working here. However, for those skilled EEA and Swiss nationals who wish to come to live and work at a later date, once the Brexit dust has finally settled, then the present position is that they will be treated in the same way as non EEA / Swiss nationals presently are i.e. the criteria will be sponsorship based on skills regardless of nationality*.
A Home Office Sponsorship Licence is the vehicle through which UK based businesses can sponsor (presently) skilled non EEA /Swiss nationals to come and live and work in the UK by way of new hire.
The licence is obtained on application to the Home Office by demonstrating a real and genuine trading presence in the UK and by satisfying it that sufficient HR capabilities and processes are in place to effectively monitor and report on migrant activity.
A licence is issued for a period of four years, followed by quadrennial renewal.
1. Perhaps most importantly, holding a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence allows an employer access to a vast international talent pool that its competitors without a licence do not have. This is not only with regard new hires from outside of the UK but also:
a. allows recruitment from the graduate pool of international students from UK universities; and
b. allows recruitment of migrants in the UK already sponsored by another business i.e. lateral hires from competitors.
2. Additional categories are available to employers within Tier 2, including the "Intra-Company Transfer" Visa, which may independently be an attractive proposition to global businesses in its own right. This allows sponsors to bring skilled international employees into the UK for various purposes such as training, project management, professional career development etc.
Again, the prospect of a "secondment" to the UK may be a significant draw in recruiting a candidate to a global office and securing the appointment rather than a competitor.
3. As mentioned, it is also likely that following Brexit the Tier 2 model will be adapted by the Home Office for EEA and Swiss migrants. Existing sponsors will therefore already have the platform with which to provide sponsorship to skilled EEA/Swiss nationals and, perhaps, gain an initial advantage in securing talent from this additional but finite pool.
If you have any queries with regard to securing a Home Office Sponsorship Licence, or anything in connection with visas and immigration, then please contact our Tier 1 "Legal 500" rated team of specialist solicitors.
[*Contingent proposals exist for allowing migrants temporary (12 month) work visas to come to the UK to carry out low skilled jobs and also Home Office pilots are presently being run in respect of seasonal / agricultural fruit and vegetable pickers. These are intended to "plug the gaps" following Brexit but will not allow the migrants the possibility of permanent residency.]