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The Skilled Worker Route: A Guide For Employers

From 1st January 2021, a new points-based system will be enforced. The new system is intended to transform the way individuals enter the United Kingdom and will ensure that EU and non-EU nationals are treated equally. This article focuses on the ‘skilled worker’ route which will replace the current Tier 2 General Route.
What is the skilled worker route?

The skilled worker route applies to anyone seeking to work in the United Kingdom. The individual making the application will need to obtain 70 points under the new points-based system. In order to obtain points, the individual will need to demonstrate the following:

  • They have been offered a job from a Home Office licensed sponsor;
  • The job meets the required skill level of at least RQF 3;
  • They can speak English at the required standard; and
  • They will be paid a salary of at least £25,600 or meet the specific salary requirement for their occupation.

However, even if an individual does not meet an aspect of the criteria (e.g. salary), they could still qualify under this route based on their job role or academic qualifications. This is because some criteria is ‘tradeable’ and therefore more points can be awarded for meeting certain criteria.

There will no longer be a cap on the number of people who can enter the UK under the skilled worker route and the resident labour market test will be removed. Therefore providing a more straightforward and less time-consuming recruitment process.

Sponsorship Licence
An employer wishing to sponsor an individual to work in the UK must be a licenced sponsor. Employers who are not already licenced sponsors and want to sponsor migrants through the skilled worker route from January 2021 should consider becoming a Home Office licenced sponsor now to avoid a potential surge in applications in January 2021.
At this stage, existing sponsors do not need to take action as they will automatically be granted a new licence. However, they are advised to carry out mock audits to ensure their processes and procedures are in line with Home Office requirements.

Current employers should also ensure they have reviewed their staffing needs for the coming year to ensure employees in the UK under current EU regulations have applied for leave to remain under the current EU settlement scheme.

For more information, contact me on +44 (0)20 7201 1888

Posted By Krishma Bathia

3 September 2020

Krishma Bathia
Solicitor, Immigration