Employment and Immigration Law Update - New immigration system from 1 January 2021


29 April 2020

The Government has confirmed that despite the current coronavirus crisis, it still intends to introduce a new immigration system from 1 January 2021. This will add further pressure to already busy HR professionals.

The Home Office has highlighted that there will be no general route for ‘low-skilled workers’. At a time when many of our key worker heroes are deemed to be in ‘low-skilled’ roles, this is particularly disappointing.

The latest guidance reminds employers that if you do not already have a sponsor licence and anticipate that you may need to recruit EU workers next year, then you should be starting the licence application process now.

The Tier 2 sponsor guidance has been amended, to allow applications from employers who expect to be sponsoring under the new system, which will permit sponsorship for roles skilled to RQF level 3, rather than RQF level 6. We understand that in practice, where such applications are made they are being granted, but without any allocation of certificates of sponsorship. Therefore further requests for certificates will need to be made and justified in due course.

Sponsor licence applications normally require the submission by post of several original documents. Where this is not possible due to coronavirus it is possible to request that discretion be exercised and if approved, digital copies sent to the Home Office. The sponsor will still need to retain the original documents on file, to produce in the event of an audit.

For advice on the new immigration system and support with a licence application, please contact a member of our Immigration Team.

The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at April 2020.