Sponsorship Licence for Care Homes – the legal practicalities of securing a Licence.

EU nationals arriving in the UK after 1 January 2021 are now subject to the UK Immigration Rules. EU nationals no longer have the benefits of right of free movement. The need to maintain staffing levels would mean that more employers are going to need a Skilled Worker Sponsorship Licence especially in certain industries such as the health and social care sector. It is widely known that the UK has been experiencing severe workforce challenges within the health and social care sector. To address this, a new Health and Care Worker visa was introduced to facilitate entry to the UK, offer reduced visa fees and exemption from the Immigration Health Surcharge.


Health and Care Worker Visa

Candidates in eligible roles can apply to come to the UK to work under the Health and Care visa which is a part of the skilled worker route using a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from a UK licensed Sponsor. Until now, only senior roles such as senior carers and managers (code 6146) who are extensively experienced could be sponsored whilst the junior roles could not be allocated under the system. With the recent changes, additional care roles such as care assistants, carers, and support workers would now be eligible.


Apply for a Health & Care Worker Sponsor Licence

To secure a sponsorship licence to employ migrant workers, you will need to make an application to the Home Office. The sponsor is expected to evidence that they are a legitimate organisation based in the UK, that there is a genuine vacancy for the role they are offering, any worker that has been identified alongside a few other requirements to obtain a successful grant of Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence. Further, the business must be able to show that it has robust HR processes and systems to ensure compliance as a sponsor upon grant of sponsor licence.

Once you have obtained the licence, the sponsor can then issue a valid Certificate of Sponsorship offering a suitable salary above the required threshold. This usually amounts to at least £20,480 per year or the ‘going rate’ for the job, whichever is higher. The typical employer for this particular visa route will be the NHS, an organisation providing medical services to the NHS, or an organisation providing adult social care.


Responsibilities of the sponsor

There has been a significant increase in enquiries from recruiting companies and agents looking to import talent and skills to the UK. However, it is worth noting that this route is limited to allowing only the company for which work is undertaken to be the sponsor with limitations on outsourcing resources. The sponsor has to be fully responsible for the duties, functions and outcomes or outputs of the job the worker will be doing. If the employee is to work for a third-party organisation to fulfil a contractual obligation, this must be a contract with a specific end date with a clear control mechanism by the sponsor.

It is prudent to understand all the requirements when applying for a sponsor licence and skilled worker visa. If a licence application is to be refused, no subsequent application can be made within six months of the refusal. This can understandably cause severe hardships to businesses in need of immediate staffing.

For more information about obtaining a sponsor licence and subsequent visas or any immigration advice, please contact Krish Ravin at kr@branchaustinmccormick.com or another member of our immigration team.

Branch Austin McCormick LLP
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