Corporate Immigration for Business

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Business Immigration Solicitors Manchester

Our Business Immigration Solicitors support all types of employers and education providers to navigate the UK immigration system with specialist advice on visa applications for their employees, sponsor licence applications and renewals, and ongoing immigration compliance duties across Manchester and throughout the UK.

Many of our clients need to recruit talent from overseas to fulfil their growth and innovation objectives. Our Business Immigration solicitors offer practical and strategic advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

Our Immigration Solicitors also work with individuals who wish to secure their right to work and invest in the UK.

With the introduction of the points-based immigration system, the number of routes into the UK has been significantly reduced. Our experienced business immigration team will help you find the solution that best fits your needs.

We also help clients to establish robust policies and procedures to ensure compliance with sponsorship regulations.

Whatever your circumstances, our Business Immigration Solicitors will focus on your needs and recommend the correct steps to guide you through the complexities of the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) laws.

Contact our team today to find out more about how we can help.

Hiring from outside the UK from 1 January 2021

Immigration rules are changing. The UK left the EU on 31 December 2020, and free movement between the EU and the UK has ended.

There is a new points-based immigration system in place which changes the way companies can hire non-UK nationals, including those from the EU. The new system treats EU and non-EU citizens equally. It is designed to attract the most highly skilled migrant workers using salary and qualification thresholds for eligibility.

Companies need to apply for a sponsor licence to hire most eligible employees from outside the UK, except Irish citizens.

If you already have a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence it will be automatically converted to the new version under the skilled worker route.

How to apply for a sponsor licence

To be eligible to apply for a sponsor licence, you must have a UK presence and be operating or trading lawfully in the UK.

You may also have to prove that:

  • you are registered with any appropriate regulatory bodies
  • you have the necessary licences for your business
  • you have the necessary consent from the local authority to run your business from its registered address.

The documentation and information you provide must be accurate. It is common for sponsor licence applications to be rejected. This is where the expertise of our Business Immigration Lawyers can be invaluable, and greatly increase your chances of success.

Once you have satisfied all the eligibility and compliance requirements, the application can be made online.

A number of documents will need to be submitted along with an online application form including:

  • A bank statement
  • Proof that you have registered for VAT
  • Evidence of employers liability insurance for at least £5M
  • Evidence of business premises
  • Evidence of registration with HMRC for PAYE and NI

This list is not exhaustive, so please check the requirements for your type of organisation.

For an application to be successful, you will also need to provide evidence that there is a genuine need for the licence and that the skills you are recruiting for are not available locally.

It is common for sponsor licence applications to be rejected. This is where the support of an experienced Business Immigration Solicitor can add real value to the process, saving you money and time. If a sponsor licence is rejected there is a potentially very disruptive 6 month cooling off period during which a new application cannot be made.

Who can we sponsor when we have a sponsor licence?

To hire someone from outside the UK (excluding Irish citizens) the job you are recruiting for must meet the minimum skill and salary thresholds.

These are:

  • a minimum skill level of RQF3 (equivalent to A level)
  • a minimum salary of £25,600 or the ‘going rate’ for that job – whichever is higher
  • The applicant must also meet English language requirements

If the above requirements are met and you are a licensed sponsor, you will be able to sponsor their application to work in the UK.

NB: If the job is in a shortage occupation, the salary threshold may be lower than £25,600.

What about EU nationals we already employee?

The new system does not apply to EU nationals if they arrived before 11pm on 31 December 2020, provided they apply for EU Settlement Status before 30 June 2021.

All EU citizens and their family members living in the UK before 31 December 2020 can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

EU Citizens who can prove they have been living in the UK for 5 years by 31 December 2020 will be granted settled status which is similar to ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’ already in place for non-EU citizens.

If you do not meet the criteria for settled status straight away, you will be given pre-settled status. This means you can stay in the UK for a limited time as you work towards meeting the requirements for settled status. At the end of a 5 year period of continuous residence in the UK you will need to apply for settled status.

Those eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme must apply before 30 June 2021.

Specialist immigration support for businesses

Our Corporate Immigration Solicitors work with employers to establish their employment requirements. Where educational institutions sponsor overseas students, we can also provide expert advice.

We offer legal services in the following areas:

• Sponsor Licence applications – initial applications and renewals under Tiers 2 and 5.
• Sponsor duties and support in understanding compliance responsibilities under the Sponsor Management System.
• Assisting with the allocation and issue of Certificates of Sponsorship under Tier 2 and Certificates of Acceptance of Studies under Tier 4.
• Sponsor Licence audits and queries.
• Illegal working queries and challenges to civil penalty notices.
• Document checking for employees and HR audits and health checks.
• Applications for entry clearance and leave to remain for individuals under Tiers 2 and 5 employees
• Business Visitor Visas
• The rights of European employees

Immigration audits

All sponsor licence holders are inspected by the Home Office during the validity period of your licence. You may be informed in advance, or the visit might be unannounced. This is done to verify that the information you provided as part of your sponsor licence application is accurate, and that you are continuing to comply with the duties and responsibilities of a licensed sponsor.

It is also possible that someone from the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will visit your business premises to carry out checks before they make a decision on your sponsor licence application.

We can help you prepare for both occasions, drawing on extensive experience, to conduct an immigration audit of your business prior to any Home Office inspection.

Get in touch

At Clifford Johnston, our experienced Business Immigration Solicitors in Manchester understand the constant shifting landscape of your business and the need to respond to those changes rapidly and effectively.

With offices in Stockport (Heaton Moor) & Manchester (Burnage), our expert UK Business Immigration Solicitors are easily accessible. We represent clients not only locally and throughout Manchester, Stockport and Cheshire but also across the United Kingdom.

You can count on us to help and guide you whatever your challenge or circumstance.


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