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Home Office “Sponsorship Roadmap” for changes to the points-based immigration system

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 (

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.

Data sharing

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.

2021: review of the current system

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:

  • establishing a service that can support small and micro businesses
  • a fee review
  • an enhanced Skilled Worker eligibility checking tool, to make it easier to understand if a particular job is eligible under the Skilled Worker route
  • piloting a salary check with HMRC to ensure actual salaries match stated salaries

2022: new “Global Business Mobility” route

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.

2022-2024: IT transformation

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:

  1. Sponsor a visa (mid-2022):  aims to streamline the visa application process, for example pre-populating the visa application with role information provided by the sponsor.
  2. Manage a licence (end of 2022):  aims for greater transparency and ease in the carrying out of post-licence activities, for example allowing sponsors to view their sponsored workers’ status through an online dashboard which will prompt required actions. It will also provide automatic checks with other departments such as HMRC and Companies House.
  3. Become a sponsor (early 2023): aims to make the sponsor application process easier, for example by using simpler forms and having automated checks on key details and individuals in the prospective sponsor organisation.

Watch this space for further updates!

For tailored legal advice and support on immigration matters contact Nadine Marston or call Boardside on 0330 0949338