Skilled Workers formerly Tier 2 (General) and T5 (Temporary Workers)

Following immigration rules accurately is essential because if you get it wrong, your business could face hefty fines and your employees could be removed from the UK. Our specialist immigration solicitor can provide practical advice about hiring Skilled Workers (formerly Tier 2 (General) visa holders) and Temporary Workers (referred to within a 'T5' category, previously 'Tier 5') from overseas.

We will ensure that your business fully complies with all immigration legal requirements, providing expert advice about UK visa processes and completing all necessary documentation efficiently and to the highest degree of accuracy.

UK immigration rules encourage employers to hire people who can contribute the most to the economy. Since 1 January 2021 and the UK’s exit from the European Union (Brexit), employers are required to obtain a sponsor licence for the vast majority of non-UK and non-Irish nationals, including people immigrating from the EU, the EEA and Switzerland.

What were known as Tier 2 (General) and Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) routes have now been replaced with Skilled Worker and T5 (Temporary Worker) routes. Migrant employees must now fulfil requirements under the new points-based immigration system before they have authorisation to come to the UK to live and work.

Our legal team includes specialist immigration solicitor, Kate Hollyer, who is fully up-to-date with the immigration rules and can skilfully guide you through the process, promoting your commercial interests as an employer while also protecting your employees’ personal interests.

For advice about sponsoring workers under Skilled Worker and T5 (Temporary Worker) visa routes, get in touch with our specialist immigration solicitor by contacting your local Chattertons office or filling in our online enquiry form. We have offices in Boston (Main Ridge West and Wide Bargate), Bourne, Grantham, Horncastle, Lincoln, Newark, Sleaford, Spalding and Stamford.

Why choose Chattertons for advice about the Skilled Worker and T5 (Temporary Worker) immigration routes?

At Chattertons, we are proud to offer bespoke immigration advice to businesses across the East Midlands, Lincolnshire and the wider surrounding area.

Kate Hollyer, our resident immigration law expert and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, has almost a decade of past experience working for a leading London immigration firm. She brings us her extensive practical legal expertise which is powerfully combined with a commercially-focused approach and experience working across a wide range of sectors. Kate will take the time to get to know your business, familiarising herself with your needs and objectives, then carefully tailoring an approach to suit you.

As well as providing general advice about obtaining a sponsor licence and sponsoring workers, Kate can advise on the various risks and opportunities of hiring individuals from overseas and help you maintain compliance and develop an ongoing strategy to attract and retain the very best talent from overseas.

Clients often ask us…

How does the Skilled Worker immigration route work?

From 1 December 2020, the Skilled Worker route replaced the Tier 2 (General) route. You must now obtain a Skilled Worker sponsor licence to employ non-UK and non-Irish nationals in a skilled role (unless they are settled in the UK or already have permission to work in the UK).

To be able to sponsor a Skilled Worker, you must:

  • Hold a valid Skilled Worker sponsor licence
  • Be familiar with the requirements for sponsoring Skilled Workers and your own sponsorship duties
  • Assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to each sponsored worker and pay a fee
  • Pay the Immigration Skills Charge for all but exempt Skilled Workers
  • Keep records of sponsored workers
  • Maintain ‘key personnel’ for handling Certificates of Sponsorship and dealing with the Home Office’s Sponsorship Management System (‘SMS’).

The Skilled Worker route is all about attracting people who can contribute the most to the UK economy. The new points-based system assigns visa applicants points for obtaining a job at the required skill level with the required salary level. If the job does not score points for reaching the required salary level, additional points may be awarded instead for fulfilling a specific shortage occupation or having a relevant PhD.

Can I sponsor a Skilled Worker?

Before sponsoring a Skilled Worker you must obtain a sponsor licence by making an application to UK Visas and Immigration (formerly the UK Border Agency) and paying the relevant fee of £536 or £1476, depending on the size and turnover of your business. Supporting documents must be provided as part of the application.

It takes approximately 8 weeks to get a decision on your application, but it may be possible to have a fast-track decision made within 10 working days for an additional £500 fee. Once approved, a sponsor licence is valid for 4 years.

A Sponsor company can then assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (‘CoS’) to a proposed non-UK employee, allowing them to apply for Skilled Worker status to work in the UK. Application fees as well as other charges are payable at the point of application, and processing times are variable depending on where the applicant applies from. It is vital that the job offer is genuine and that the job is skilled to a certain level to avoid the application being refused and jeopardising the validity of your sponsor licence.

As part of our inclusive service, we can provide detailed advice about the process of sponsoring a Skilled Worker and your eligibility.

How does the T5 (Temporary Worker) immigration route work?

From 1 December 2020, the Temporary Worker route replaced the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) route. Depending on which category of Temporary Worker you wish to employ from outside the UK, you may now require a Temporary Worker sponsor licence.

There are a number of different Temporary Worker routes:

  • Creative or Sporting Worker
  • Charity Worker
  • Religious Worker
  • Government Authorised Exchange Worker
  • International Agreement Worker
  • Seasonal Worker

There is also a route called the T5 (Temporary Worker) Youth Mobility Scheme route which is a cultural exchange scheme for young people aged 18-30 years old.

You can be licensed in as many routes as necessary to achieve your commercial aims. Broadly speaking, the Temporary Worker routes allow employers to recruit workers for a variety of temporary roles in the UK to boost cultural, religious or international objectives. This can include volunteering, job sharing or seasonal work in the edible horticultural sector.

Typically, T5 (Temporary Worker) visas last around one to two years, except the Seasonal Worker visa which lasts up to six months in any 12-month period.

The requirements for sponsoring Temporary Workers are much the same as the requirements for Skilled Workers set out in the bullet points above. We can provide tailored advice about each Temporary Worker route, and help you obtain the relevant sponsor licences required.

I already have a Tier 2/Tier 5 Sponsor Licence, do I need to reapply after Brexit?

If you have a sponsor licence to sponsor workers under the Tier 2 and Tier 5 routes prior to 1 December 2020, you do not need to apply for a new licence.

Your current licence and Certificate of Sponsorship (‘CoS’) allocation will have transferred to the new system from 1 December 2020 and have the same expiry date. However, you will need to renew your licence if it expires within the next 90 days.

The only circumstances in which your licence will not be transferred is if it has been suspended, revoked or made dormant.

Get in touch with our specialist Skilled Worker and T5 (Temporary Worker) immigration solicitor

For advice about sponsoring workers under Skilled Worker and T5 (Temporary Worker) routes, get in touch with our specialist immigration solicitor by contacting your local Chattertons office or filling in our online enquiry form. We have offices in Boston (Main Ridge West and Wide Bargate), Bourne, Grantham, Horncastle, Lincoln, Newark, Sleaford, Spalding and Stamford.