6th April 2021 In Blog, Immigration

Sponsoring Skilled Workers

Sponsoring Skilled Workers from the EU and Internationally: A Guide For Restaurateurs

The rules relating to sponsoring skilled workers to the UK have recently changed. From 11pm on the 31st of December 2020, UK employers seeking to recruit staff from outside of the UK are required to hold a valid sponsor licence. This does not apply to Irish Citizens, who can continue to work in the UK without the need for sponsorship.

As free movement under EU Regulations end, the UK Government has decided to significantly expand the sponsor licence system. The UK’s hospitality sector relied heavily on European workers. By introducing a new system, it will ensure that UK businesses do not suffer workforce shortages and will allow organisations to sponsor a greater range of individuals. This shift in policy means that the Home Office has tried to simplify and streamline the process. However, employers are still struggling to navigate through the new guidance issued by the Home Office, which is extensive in nature with over 200 pages.

The Old Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence

Under the old regime, only skilled chefs with 5 years of relevant work experience, earning £30,000 per annum, could be sponsored. The roles had to be specialist, such as sous chef and executive chef. Furthermore, chefs could not be sponsored by fast food outlets, and the relevant candidate was required to meet Level 6 of the Regulated Qualification Framework, which is equivalent to a degree level. You were also required to complete a Resident Labour Market Test, which entailed advertising the vacancy on two separate platforms for at least 28 days.

What has changed under the new Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence?

Under the new regime, you are not required to complete the Resident Labour Market Test. This demonstrates the flexibility of the new system and that it has the potential of reducing the timing of applications. Importantly, the skill level has been reduced to Level 3 of the Regulated Qualification Framework, which is equivalent to an A-Level qualification, or Level B1 CEFR level. To safeguard sponsored employees, employers are required to pay employees at least £10.10 per hour, which translates to £25,600 per annum. Fast food outlets will be eligible to employ skilled workers. The followings roles will qualify under the new regime:

  • Chef
  • Chef-manager
  • Head chef
  • Pastry chef
  • Sous chef
  • Bar manager
  • Floor manager (Restaurants)
  • Kitchen manager
  • Catering manager
  • Shop manager (take-away food shop)
  • Restaurant manager

What roles will not qualify under the new regime?

The following roles cannot be sponsored:

  • Bar staff
  • Waiters
  • Cleaners
  • Room attendants

How much is the Home Office fee?

This is reliant on the size of your business. If your organisation has 50 staff members or less and has a turnover of £10.2 million or less, you will be classed as a small organisation and the Home Office fee will be £536. The Home Office fee for large organisations is £1,476.

How can we help your organisation?

Our expert immigration solicitors have extensive experience in assisting restaurants with their business needs. Our solicitors keep up to date with the ever-changing immigration rules to better assist businesses. If you want to apply for a Sponsor Licence, please do not hesitate to contact us today on 0161 835 2446.