The Home Office has announced its plans to reform the current sponsorship system. The aim is to provide a faster end-to-end process for employers to hire overseas workers than in any other G20 country The UK’s points-based immigration system: sponsorship roadmap (accessible version) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
Plans are afoot to make minor changes to the current sponsorship system, whilst designing a faster, simpler sponsorship system using a range of IT and systems reforms. This will be done in conjunction with stakeholders. The new sponsorship IT system will be rolled out in phases to increasingly larger number of users.
Historically there has been sharing of data between different Government departments, most notably between the Home Office and the Inland Revenue. The aim going forward is increased reliance on the use and sharing of information, both between departments and between sponsors and prospective workers. This is intended to improve the speed, efficiency and transparency of the new sponsorship system. The cross-referencing of data is hoped to increase the speed of a getting a licence, getting a visa and reinforcing compliance.
During the remainder of this year, the Home Office objectives are to speed up all application processes, to improve a sponsor’s experience of using the system, and to prevent abuse of the system. This will involve:
A new Global Business Mobility route is being designed to help overseas businesses to establish a presence in the UK and to transfer staff to the UK.
The plan is to introduce this under the improved existing system in Spring 2022. The new system is also likely to incorporate revisions to the existing intra-company transfer and representative of an overseas business routes.
Also under review are provisions for contractual service suppliers and independent professionals, and new provisions for import/export secondments.
A new sponsorship IT system rests on the introduction of three IT ‘delivery packages’ which will be phased in from mid-2022 to early 2023. Some sponsors will move to the new system by the middle of 2023, and the plan is to have all sponsors moved across by early 2024. The system will be designed to make it easier for sponsors to understand their licence and any information they need to provide.
The three IT packages are:
Watch this space for further updates!