Intelligent CXO Issue 25 | Page 45

If you look at the actual requirements for a sponsored visa , they ' ve also changed . For example , the salary requirements for the main sponsor work visa has been reduced , the skill level requirements for sponsorship has also been reduced . It used to be employers can only sponsor people in what were deemed to be degree-level roles or equivalent , whereas that ' s now reduced to A-level or equivalent .
There ’ s also been the removal of the resident labour market test and that was a really lengthy , prescriptive recruitment and advertising process that many employers had to go through before they offered sponsorship . That ' s been completely removed . The process has been made more streamlined in some ways and overall , the options for sponsorship have massively broadened , because you have a much broader range of roles that can now be sponsored in the UK .
We have to remember that it ' s still an evolving system . There ' s been many new visa categories launched over the last few years , particularly really focused on attracting highly skilled workers to the UK . The government haven ’ t been shy about setting out their ambitions to boost the economy to grow certain sectors , such as the tech sector . We do anticipate that the immigration system will continue to develop and to facilitate some of those aims for growth and development further .
In what way does the current immigration policy support technology businesses and help companies bring in the best talent from around the world ?
I think for most employers , including technology businesses , the main route they are going to rely on is going to be sponsorship , primarily under the skilled worker category or possibly under the global business mobility category , which is specifically for transferring existing overseas employees from overseas branches to the UK on a temporary basis , but for most , it ' s going to be the skilled worker visa . And in order to sponsor an individual , the employer needs to first apply for a sponsor licence . That ' s an online application followed up by providing supporting documentation . The business will need to evidence a genuine trading business and that it can meet its compliance obligations as a sponsor .
That process tends to take roughly around six to eight weeks , but it can be expedited by paying additional priority fees . And once the licence is obtained , then the sponsor and the individual being sponsored can move forward to applying for the actual visa . And again , that process typically takes around six to eight weeks , preparing all the supporting documents etc . But it can vary .
It ' s worth mentioning that there are many roles in the tech sector that actually qualify for what ’ s called the shortage occupation list . Now these are roles that the government recognises are in particularly short supply in the UK . They further facilitate employers to sponsor people into these roles , and they do that in a couple of ways . I mentioned earlier that there is a salary threshold for sponsorship in the UK but they
ALL OF THESE THINGS HAVE IMPACTED MOBILITY AND SO IT ' S REALLY OUR JOB TO HELP OUR CLIENTS THROUGH THESE REALLY CHALLENGING SITUATIONS . actually reduced that salary threshold further for roles under the shortage occupation list . And , in addition , they made the actual visa application fees lower as well , making it a little bit more accessible , potentially for smaller businesses with lower budgets .
Examples of roles that fall under the shortage occupation list would be IT business analysts , architects , systems designers , programmers , software development professionals , web designers and other web development professionals , amongst other roles . So that ' s always worth considering .
I mentioned the government has launched several visa categories over the last couple of years and they ' re constantly being reformed as well . For example , there ’ s the start-up and innovator visa . These are visas for individuals that want to bring an innovative business to the UK .
There ' s also a global talent visa . So that is a visa for those who are exceptionally talented or show exceptional promise in their particular field of expertise . They ' re going to be potentially industryleading individuals and there is a category for those in the digital technology sectors .
There are other visas which really aren ' t particularly focused on the tech sector , such as the graduate visa , for example . That ' s open to individuals who are UK graduates and it allows them to stay in the UK for two or three years post-graduation , and they can work for any employer .
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