Are You Sponsor Licence Ready? | Employing Migrant Workers in the UK from 1 January 2021

October 1, 2020

2020 has been a year of change, challenge and uncharted territory for organisations everywhere. As the UK moves forward with its departure from the EU, employers must now prepare for further change – the introduction of new rules for EU nationals and a visa system to accommodate them.

From 1 January 2021 European nationals entering the UK for work will be subject to immigration permission. EU nationals arriving in the UK for employment purposes from this date forward will need a skilled worker visa, including those in the UK on a temporary basis only.

The result of this is potentially significant to employers in two ways – not only the increased number of workers now requiring sponsorship, but the number of businesses within, or linked to, the organisation that a sponsor licence will need to support.

Ensure You Are Prepared

A sponsor licence is an endorsement by the Home Office that an organisation has the necessary systems, policies and processes in place to effectively manage and monitor its foreign workers.

It is designed to share responsibility for migrant workers between the Home Office and UK employers and is a commitment by the UK business to adhere to a set of strict requirements when hiring, transferring and employing overseas workers.

Furthermore, with an increasingly mobile workforce, it is a crucial business tool and is key to attracting and retaining truly top global talent.

Businesses are in a position to be proactive and to get a head start on preparing for the upcoming changes now. Employers are advised to undertake a general ‘health check’ in the run up to the new system to ensure that the licence is primed and ready for next year.

Key considerations may include:

  • From 1 January 2021, if your organisation considers recruiting foreign nationals (including people from the EU), it must be a Home Office licensed sponsor.
  • A review of the current HR systems in place against UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requirements – is the licence fully compliant?
  • Key personnel and licence profile – is the licence up-to-date with regard to those involved with the organisation’s immigration activity, the company’s details and addresses?
  • Organisation structure – does the licence reflect the full extent of the business? Does the company have European entities that may need to be included for transfers going forward? Does the business have multiple premises in the UK where sponsored workers might now be based?
  • Licence ‘awareness’ – does the business have a solid grasp of how the licence works and who will require sponsorship from January 2021? Are processes in place to capture the requirements for an expanded population with immigration conditions?
  • Licence validity – is the licence due for renewal and can this be submitted early?

How Newland Chase Can Help

As the licence will provide the foundation for an even greater number of sponsored workers, it’s vital that employers work to put safeguards in place and look to capitalise on this facility to the fullest extent.

Newland Chase has an unrivalled understanding of the sponsor licence process, offering a full range of services including full system audits and recommendations tailored to your business.

We are on hand to assist employers in navigating the complexities of compliance, review and refresh the licence and unlock all of its potential to create opportunity going forward.

In anticipation that UKVI will see a surge in licence activity toward the latter end of this year, our recommendation is to get ahead now.

If your organisation is not already a licensed sponsor and you think you will want to sponsor eligible skilled workers from 1 January 2021, you should apply now.

Schedule a Tailored Sponsor Licence Evaluation for Your Business

The team at Newland Chase is happy to help and ready to advise so you can approach these changes with total confidence. Schedule a tailored Sponsor Licence evaluation.

UK Nationals in the EU

The rights of UK nationals resident in the EU, and of their family members, before the end of the transition period will be similarly protected, though registration schemes will vary among member states.

Employers are encouraged to review their UK business traveller and cross-border commuter population in the EU, as their current activities may be considered ‘work’, post-Brexit, and may require a work permit.

Contact Newland Chase to learn about our extensive end-to-end service offering to assist employers in supporting their UK national employees in the EU.

This white paper was prepared by Newland Chase. View as a downloadable PDF


Watch our on-demand webinar, A First-Hand Exploration of the UK’s New Immigration System, as representatives of the UK Home Office explore the new UK immigration system and examine the EU Settlement Scheme.

For detailed Brexit information, guides and on-demand webinars, visit our Brexit online resource.


This publication is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. Readers are reminded that immigration laws are subject to change. We are not responsible for any loss arising from reliance on this publication. Please contact Newland Chase should you require any additional clarification or case specific advice.
Newland Chase, a wholly owned subsidiary of CIBT, is the leading global provider of immigration and visa services for corporations and individuals with over 1,700 expert immigration and visa professionals, attorneys and qualified migration consultants located in over 70 offices in 25 countries.
With thirty years of experience, CIBT is the primary service provider to 75% of Fortune 500 companies. CIBT offers a comprehensive suite of services under two primary brands: Newland Chase, focused on global immigration strategy and advisory services for corporations worldwide and CIBTvisas, the market leader for business and other travel visa services for corporate and individual clients.