Employing skilled workers under the new” Points Based” Immigration System- what employers need to know

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

A new immigration system will come in to force on 1st January 2021. ( Some of it will be in force even earlier than that.)

It will be a” Points Based” system and will apply equally to EU nationals ( who are not already living in and permitted to work in the UK ) and to non- EU nationals. This is of course a significant change for employers who can currently recruit employees from within the EU without needing to “ sponsor “ them. 

It will not apply to Irish nationals who will be free to come and work in the UK though it may apply to their family members. 

Unless employers can fill specialist positions from those already entitled to live and work in the UK they will need to “ sponsor” them under the” Points Based” system which means having a sponsorship licence. 

Those employers who already hold a Tier 2 licence will keep that licence until such time that it comes up for renewal. 

Other employers, who anticipate needing to employ specialist workers post- January 2021, are encouraged by the Home Office to apply for a licence as soon as possible so as to be ready. 

It is important to be aware of the obligations and duties that come with being granted a licence and of the fact that licence holders may well receive a “ compliance visit” – sometimes announced- by immigration officials. They will check an employer’s suitability for holding a sponsorship licence and will amongst other things seek to establish that “ right to work “ checks are being carried out properly.

In some ways the new system will be more beneficial to employers than the current “ Tier 2 ( General)”system of sponsorship. There will no longer be a cap on the number of specialist workers who can be “ sponsored” and , a major improvement, the “ Resident Labour Test “ will no longer be necessary which should speed up the process of employing skilled workers. 

The above is a brief summary and should not be relied on as legal advice. 

Immigration law changes frequently and whilst the summary is accurate at the time of being published there may be  subsequent changes.

Jenny Harvey,  is a specialist immigration solicitor and owner of Jenny Harvey Immigration Ltd. For further information visit: