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Recruiting IT staff from abroad

Recruiting IT staff from abroad requires the prospective employee to obtain a work visa. In some cases, the UK employer must hold a valid Sponsor Licence in order for them to be approved.

For more information on how Birmingham Immigration Lawyers can help you with overseas recruitment, or to talk about applying for a visa to work in the UK, call our team today on 0121 667 6530 for further guidance.

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    IT staff from overseas

    The recruitment processes involved in employing foreign workers within a UK business can often seem daunting. For those who wish to hire workers outside the UK, they must ensure they are following the correct immigration legal framework to avoid facilitating illegal workers.

    Recruiting IT staff from overseas can be done via multiple immigration routes. In particular, the Skilled Worker route or through the Intra Company Transfer route. These particular routes fall under the new points based system and require valid sponsorship from a UK employer.

    UK employers who plan on employing foreign workers under the points based system must have a valid UK Sponsor Licence to issue the correct documentation for a foreign worker to acquire a worker visa.

    For more information on how Birmingham Immigration Lawyers can help you with overseas recruitment, or to talk about applying for a visa to work in the UK, call our team today on 0121 667 6530 for further guidance.

    Skilled worker visa

    Skilled Worker visa

    The Skilled worker route allows overseas workers to emigrate to the United Kingdom to work in a skilled profession that appears on the list of eligible occupations. Within the IT sector, the following professions are eligible for skilled workers:

    • IT Directors- code 2133
    • IT Project and Programme Managers- code 2134
    • IT Business Analysts- code 2135
    • Programmers and Software Development professionals- code 2136
    • Web Design and Development professionals- code 2137
    • Information Technology and Telecommunications professionals (not elsewhere classified)- code 2139

    Anybody who wishes to apply under the Skilled Worker route must be able to demonstrate that they meet the following requirements:

    • They have a job offer from a UK business with a Home Office-approved Sponsor Licence
    • They will be paid a minimum of £25,600 per year or the ‘going-rate’
    • They meet the minimum requirement for English language skills
    • The job offer meets the minimum skill level of RQF level 3

    In order to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship to support a Skilled Workers visa application, the company in the UK must hold a valid Sponsor Licence. Only when the worker has the correct immigration permission, can they begin to work for a UK employer.

    Do you need help applying for a Skilled Worker Visa? Our lawyers can assist you. Get in touch

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      Intra Company Transfer visa

      The Intra Company Transfer route is open to those who wish to transfer employees from an overseas branch of their company to the UK. In order to apply successfully, migrant workers must be able to meet the skills and salary thresholds in place.

      Workers transferred to the UK must:

      • Have an Intra Company Transfer sponsorship from an employer with a Sponsor Licence
      • Have 12 months working for a business overseas linked with the UK business they will work in the UK for
      • be paid at least £41,500 per year or the ‘going-rate’
      • Meet the minimum skill level of RQF level 6

      The Intra Company Transfer route allows a foreign worker to stay in the UK temporarily- immigration rules state that they cannot stay for more than 5 years in any 6 year period if they are assigned to the UK multiple times.

      For companies who wish to sponsor an overseas worker under the Intra Company Transfer immigration routes should have a valid Sponsor Licence, or apply for one as soon as possible.

      Unsponsored worker routes

      There are some immigration routes that do not require a UK company employing foreign workers to have a Sponsor Licence. These are considered unsponsored visa routes.

      Global Talent route

      The Global Talent route is open to attract recognised global leaders and promising individuals in Arts, Science, Humanities, Engineering and Digital Technology.

      Youth Mobility Scheme

      The Youth Mobility Scheme is open to young people from a particular country who wish to experience life in the UK for up to two years. It is open to people aged 18-30 years old and will allow them to work in the UK in most jobs, or to study if they prefer.

      Study for an IT qualification in the UK

      To study a IT based qualification at a British educational facility, a student must be sponsored by a University who has the correct Sponsorship Licence permissions. Since Brexit, European nationals are also required to seek a valid sponsor before they can study in the UK.

      The correct sponsor from a Sponsorship licence holder will then allow foreign students to apply for a student visa to study their IT-based qualification in the UK.

      After successfully completing a degree, students may be eligible to apply for a Graduate visa to work in their chosen field in the UK for up to 2 years after completing their education. The Government announced the scheme in 2020.

      Points-based immigration system

      Excluding Irish citizens, the points-based system states that anybody who wishes to come to the UK under the system must meet the minimum points required to be awarded their chosen visa.

      For example, those applying for a Skilled Worker visa must score a minimum of 70 points to become eligible. With 50 mandatory points having to come from the following categories:

      • Job offer from an approved sponsor
      • The job meets the appropriate skills and salary thresholds

      Without meeting the correct points requirement, your visa application is highly likely to be rejected.

      Right to work in the UK checks

      It is essential that those employing foreign workers conduct the correct right to work checks to avoid becoming liable to immigration offences. Overseas workers must have the correct permission to work in the UK in the form of a valid UK work visa.

      Right to Work checks can be conducted in one of two ways- manually or through the Home Offices online checking system. The online system allows employers to check the immigration status of a migrant worker using a unique share code. The method is quick, trusted and efficient.

      Manual checks can also be conducted if it is preferred. The manual check will require supporting documents to be presented by the prospective employees so they can be checked for authenticity and copied for confidential records.

      If you are a Home Office licensed sponsor, you will have a Sponsorship Management System in place to ensure the smooth running of Right to Work checks and documentation storage.

      Those found to be employing foreign workers without the correct RTW checks can face a civil penalty or further punishment. All new employees should be subjected to the appropriate checks- including existing workers transferring from an overseas branch.

      Applying for a Sponsor Licence

      To become a Home Office licensed sponsor and recruit migrant workers, you must apply for a Sponsor Licence.

      Applying for a Sponsor Licence can seem overwhelming but seeking help from a trained immigration lawyer can help the process run smoothly.

      In order to hold a Sponsor Licence successfully, you must nominate key personnel within the organisation to run your Sponsor Management System (SMS). By applying for a Sponsor Licence, you are agreeing to adhere to the Home Offices licence duties- if you fail to adhere to these, you could have your Sponsor Licence revoked or downgraded to a B-rating.

      You will be unable to hire workers from overseas until your Sponsor Licence has been approved. Once approved, it will remain valid for up to 4 years if renewable before 6th of April 2024, before it needs to be renewed.

      If it’s due for renewal on or after 6th of April 2024, you won’t need to manually renew or pay a fee. It will automatically be renewed for you and be valid for another 10 years.

      The cost of your licence will depend on the size and scale of the company applying- typically, licence application fees start at £534.

      Immigration Health Surcharge fees are payable by the visa holder for every year they remain in the United Kingdom to work and live.

      How Can Birmingham Immigration Lawyers help?

      Birmingham Immigration Lawyers house an expert team of lawyers who are ready and waiting to assist you with your query.

      Whether you require help with an existing Sponsor Licence, you wish to apply for a new one, or apply for a work visa, our team are ready to help.

      For more information on how we can help, call us today on 0121 667 6530.

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      We can help you if you need help with your Skilled Worker Visa application. Call us now

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