Employing Foreign Workers

Employing Foreign Workers
Legally reviewed by: Nisha Leel

Employing Foreign Workers in UK Businesses

If you are looking to grow your business by employing foreign workers we are here to support you. Our expert business immigration solicitors are on hand to help with sponsorship licences, right-to-work checks, Home Office assessments and all other aspects of UK business immigration.

We offer a range of specialist business immigration services, including extensive training programs and audit and compliance solutions, so you can be sure that your business is fully compliant with UK law when you are ready to start employing foreign workers.

How Your UK Business Can Benefit from Hiring Foreign Workers

Foreign workers play a vital role in our economy because their diversity can help boost the knowledge, creativity, innovation and productivity of businesses across the UK.

Many UK firms want workers from overseas because the knowledge, skills, and diversity they can bring to a team are often considered invaluable across most industries.

Your business can benefit from employing foreign workers as they will help you:

  • Provide skills that are not available in the UK, such as technical or language skills
  • Fill unskilled or low-skilled vacancies due to labour shortages
  • Bring ideas and approaches from an overseas division into the UK branch
  • Fill vacancies that the government agrees are in designated ‘shortage occupations’

But there are drawbacks. Before you consider employing a foreign national you should also think of the risks:

  • Workers must meet a required standard of English language skills in order to be granted their visa
  • Cultural differences between your existing staff and your foreign workers could cause friction, which your management team must be able to manage
  • You can face fines for not complying with UK law on employing foreign workers

Why You Need a UK Sponsorship Licence

An overseas applicant looking to move to the UK for work will most likely need one of the below visas.

  • Tier 1 – Highly skilled individuals
  • Tier 2 – Skilled workers with a job offer
  • Tier 5 – Youth mobility and temporary workers: those with primarily non-economic objectives

To be eligible for a Tier 2 or 5 visa the applicant must hold a job offer from a company that is able to sponsor their visa application. As a business, you can only sponsor that worker if your business has been granted what is called a sponsorship licence by the Home Office.

You must have a sponsorship licence in place prior to the foreign worker applying for their visa, as otherwise their visa application will be denied, meaning they won’t be able to come and work for you.

Applying for your sponsorship licence is complex, but there is no need to worry. We can help you apply so you can employ foreign workers. We can help you assess if you are able to apply, what your chances are and explain to you the process and what will be required from you. We will then stand by you throughout the application process.

Starting the Process of Applying for Your UK Sponsorship Licence

The first step to obtaining your sponsorship licence is knowing if you are eligible. Our business immigration solicitors can help you assess your eligibility in more detail, so you know exactly what you can expect when you decide to proceed with your application.

As a minimum, to be eligible, a business must not have any unspent criminal convictions. Common criminal offences that would significantly weaken your chances of getting your sponsorship licence would include previous immigration breaches or convictions for money laundering. Convictions will likely impact your application, no matter how long ago they happened.

If you’ve sponsored foreign employees in the past and were found to have failed in carrying out your sponsorship duties, you probably won’t be eligible to reapply.

Which Licence Do You Need to Hire Foreign Workers?

If you meet the eligibility criteria you can apply for a sponsorship licence to employ foreign workers. The process can be difficult and lengthy, but with our solicitors by your side, you won’t need to worry. We will be beside you from the very start, supporting you throughout your application.

There are two types of licences you can apply for. It depends on your specific needs which sponsorship licence is applicable to you:

  • Tier 2 – skilled workers (for employing long-term workers)
  • Tier 5 – skilled temporary workers (for employing short-term workers)

Our solicitors can help you assess which licence you require and what requirements you must meet before you can apply.

Straightforward Assistance with Employing Foreign Workers

We can help make the process of employing individual workers or groups of workers easy and pain-free for your organisation.

Our team is made up of expert business immigration solicitors, HR experts and employment law solicitors who can see you through every aspect of your business immigration process.

Whether you are taking on one foreign worker or a whole group, our experts have the knowledge you need.

We're here for you.