Business immigration

Business immigration & employing overseas workers

The UK left the EU on 1 January 2021 which means the free movement of EU nationals has ended and a new points based immigration system applies.

It is the government’s intention for the new points based system for sponsoring overseas workers to be more flexible, however the system is complex and many employers may still find it a challenge to get to grips with.


Any worker coming to the UK to work will need to apply for a visa in advance, other than Irish citizens.

Sponsor licence

In most cases employers will need a sponsor licence to employ a worker from abroad. The new immigration system will apply equally to all foreign nationals, with no preferential treatment for those from the EU. The system will not apply to EU nationals already resident in the UK who qualify for settled or pre-settled status.

Any EU nationals not qualifying for Settled Status will be subject to the same sponsorship system as non-EEA nationals, which is something employers will want to feel fully confident about.

Routes to employment for non-British workers

There are a number of sponsored and un-sponsored routes for non-British workers.

Sponsored routes include:

  • Skilled Worker route
  • Intra-company transfer

Unsponsored routers:

  • Global talent route
  • Graduate route
  • Youth Mobility Scheme

Read more about the different types of schemes here.


Some of the main costs involved with sponsoring individuals to working the uk are:

  • Applying for a Sponsor licence for the first time
  • Certificate of sponsorship – assigned to the individual by a licensed sponsor to enable them to apply for a visa
  • Visa – payable by the individual but in lots of cases employers reimburse the individual or pay for them.
  • Health surcharge – most individuals applying for a visa will have to pay this as part of their visa application.


Current EU national workers

If you currently have EU national employees, make sure they know they must apply for settled status. They should do this by 30 June 2021 at the latest – but encourage them to apply sooner rather than later.

Support with applying for sponsorship licences and employing overseas workers

Whilst support with immigration is one of the few things that falls outside of the affordable monthly price of Primed, we can still assist employers in becoming a licence sponsor and offer support to Level 1 users, HR professionals or other managers who are responsible for ensuring your company’s sponsor licence is operated correctly.

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