We are moving into an era of uncertainty with Britain’s ‘Brexit’ from the European Union which will have a specific impact on the legal niche of business immigration advisory work. It is obviously going to change and revise the requirements for the flow of people in and out of the UK and visa criteria, making the need for specialist advisers even more important.
The mere visa application process for an individual can be daunting, intimidating and expensive. It is no less opaque for business, and there is potentially more at stake. If a business fails to attain the correct visa for an employee or is unsuccessful in its application for a Sponsor Licence, this will have a direct impact on the employee that it is working in the UK under any assigned Certificate of Sponsorship. This can lead to criminal sanctions for the business and deportation for the affected employee. The penalties are severe and we urge businesses to take professional advice to avoid issues later on.
Neves Solicitors LLP has realised the importance of being able to give its commercial clients all round business advice from inception to growth and then potential sale. One element of the ‘growth’ of a business will be the recruitment and retention of skilled staff. It is often cited that there is a ‘skills shortage’ in the UK in niche technological and mechanical industries with resources being sought from various countries including India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Therefore companies requiring these skills are often forced to recruit from overseas.
The process of overseas recruitment is not straightforward and UK Visas & Immigration has strict criteria that must be met to enable a business to recruit foreign skilled labour. It is essential that a business can demonstrate that it has done all it can to recruit domestically, but to no avail. This is to go as far as requesting a business show what steps it has taken steps to try and recruit a domestic candidate by way of asking for copies of job adverts and job descriptions. A business will not be awarded the relevant Sponsor Licence (required to employee overseas employees) if it cannot validly justify why a domestic candidate cannot do the role effectively. The thinking is that businesses should not automatically seek to recruit from overseas if the domestic skill set can be found. It cannot also be used as a cost saving exercise as there a minimum salary levels that must be adhered to in order to achieve and retain a Sponsor Licence.
Neves Solicitors LLP is aware of the stringent Sponsor Licence application requirements and is well versed in the guidance notes which are dense and subject to change on a biannual basis. We have successfully achieved the allocation of Sponsor Licences for clients and we are adept at the form-filling and document requirements that can trip businesses up if they are new to the process. We can also assist employees with their personal visa requirements when being supported by their current or prospective employer.