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How employee sponsorship can help you overcome skills shortages in the UK labour market

How employee sponsorship can help you overcome skills shortages in the UK labour market

According to the Investors Chronicle, job vacancies are at an all-time high in the UK, with over 1.29 million vacancies reported in the first quarter of 2022 alone. This is almost 500,000 more than the pre-pandemic high.

While the official reasoning behind this shortage is the increase in people who are economically inactive after the pandemic, this doesn’t add up when considering that unemployment has reached its lowest level in almost 50 years at 3.7%. 

This means that there’s simply not enough local talent available to address the skills shortages in the country.

What can you do as an employer to overcome these shortages and find the best talent to fill your vacancies? 

The most viable and beneficial solution is to look beyond the borders of the UK and into the international labour market. Regardless of the industry you’re in, you have the best chance of finding the right employees for your organisation if you’re willing to try employee sponsorship.

If you’re unfamiliar with employee sponsorship in the UK, here’s everything you need to know about hiring international talent for your organisation.

How can you recruit international talent?

First and foremost, you need to be registered with the Home Office as a sponsor to sponsor skilled employees. 

But before you can apply for a licence you need to meet the suitability and eligibility criteria outlined by the Home Office, such as proving you’re a genuine business with no prior convictions for immigration offences and other related offences, and having the necessary capabilities to manage your sponsorship activities.

You can then apply online to become a sponsor and obtain your sponsor licence. You must also submit all the supporting documents required by the Home Office and pay the necessary fees when you’re lodging your application.

You must also ensure that you’re hiring workers for a genuine vacancy that’s eligible for sponsorship, as employment is one of the primary motivators for undocumented immigration into the UK—you can check if the job role you’re offering is eligible for sponsorship with the ONS Occupation Coding tool

If the job you’re offering is on the ONS occupation coding tool, you must then make sure that you’re fulfilling the minimum salary requirements for that particular role. In most cases,  you’ll need to pay at least £25,600 per year or £10.10 per hour, whichever value is higher. 

That said, you can hire international employees by paying less than the minimum salary requirement as long as the job role is on the Shortage Occupation list and you’re paying at least £20,480 per year or £10.10 per hour.

While it’s uncommon, you can have a candidate preference when you’re applying for the licence, which will make the application process easier.

What visa routes are available for sponsorship?

You can sponsor employees under two main types of visa classes—Workers and Temporary Workers, which include several subclasses that cater to specific industries.

      – Worker visas 

Worker visas allow you to sponsor skilled employees on a short-term, long-term, or permanent basis.

Here are the visa subclasses available under the Worker visa route:

  • Skilled Worker 
  • Senior or Specialist Worker visa
  • Minister of Religion 
  • International Sportsperson  

      – Temporary Worker visa route

Only available for specific types of employment, this visa route allows you to sponsor foreign talent temporarily.

Visa subclasses available under the Temporary Worker route include:

  • Creative Worker 
  • Charity Worker 
  • Religious Worker
  • Government Authorised Exchange 
  • International Agreement 
  • Graduate Trainee 
  • Service Supplier
  • UK Expansion Worker 
  • Secondment Worker 
  • Seasonal Worker 

It should be noted that the Home Office announced two visa schemes recently that allow you to recruit foreign talent without a sponsorship licence. 

These include the Global Talent Visa scheme, which is designed to attract recognised global leaders and promising individuals in science, humanities, engineering, the arts and digital technology, and the Youth Mobility Visa scheme, which enables young people (aged 18 to 30 years old) to come to the UK to work and travel each year.

Partner with legal experts to overcome skills shortages in the UK

If you’re not a sponsor and are looking to become one to fill skill gaps in your organisation, working with immigration experts can make the journey much easier and more straightforward for you and your sponsored employees.

At Nation.better, our team of immigration professionals support you through the entire sponsorship process. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you’d like to get professional guidance.

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