Employing Foreign Workers: A Roadmap for Employers

On June 14, 2022 | In Sponsor Licence | By A Y & J Solicitors

Hiring Internationally Trained Workers can help your organization grow in more than one ways

For any organization, it might sometime get difficult to find the right employee, with a required skillset, for a certain job role. In that case, it is important to expand the bandwidth and  to employ overseas workers to meet your business needs. Organizations prefer  considering the competencies, resources and diversities they may bring to the company. 

In the United Kingdom, there are a number of ways companies can hire foreign workers. The internationally trained workers (ITWs), which include immigrants, refugees, and foreign students who studied or worked outside of the country, are a key source of skills and talent, accounting for an increasing share of the UK’s talent pool.

This turns out beneficial both for the employer, who gets the right individual to work for his organisation and the employee, who also gets an opportunity of permanent settlement in the UK. 

Why recruit foreign workers?

Employing people from other countries has a lot of benefits for businesses. Updating your company’s staffing strategy and procedures to better hire and retain ITWs will help you create more effective recruiting and employment programmes for all employees.

The following are some of the most important reasons:

  • Meet your labour requirements

ITWs play a significant role in the UK workforce. They help in filling the gaps in high-skilled positions in several organisations across UK. They can be experts in performing occupations that need specialised abilities (such as technical or language skills) that are not available in the United Kingdom. They also can fil in temporary positions that need a certain skill set. 

  • Access new markets

Internationally Trained Workers may understand many languages and have cultural expertise that can aid in the development of new local and global markets. 

  • Make yourself more competitive.

Many ITWs have the expertise and abilities to assist your company in competing in the global market. 

  • Make your company more efficient.

ITWs can offer new views to your company, encouraging new ideas and promoting more efficient business practises. They can turn out helpful in facilitating secondments or transfers from an overseas division, for example, for developmental projects that will offer fresh ideas to the UK organisation. There are three primary options for this form of leave, all of which fall within the newly created Global Business Mobility category, which replaces the previous Intra Company Transfer route.  

  • Introduce you to other important people and organisations.

ITWs may be able to connect you with other potential workers as well as valuable national and international organisations. 

How to employ overseas workers? 

A valid sponsor licence (previously known as a Tier 2 sponsor licence) is a must for UK-based enterprises to employ skilled overseas workers

 from abroad or inside the country. Once accepted, the licence will be valid for four years with the opportunity to renew. 

What are the prerequisites for obtaining a sponsor licence?

Your organisation must have a UK presence and be operating or trading lawfully in the UK to be eligible to apply for a sponsor licence. Depending on your needs, you can apply for a single licence that covers all of your related UK organisations, or you can apply for individual licences for each branch.

You must produce documentation that you (and any branches covered by the licence) are registered with the appropriate entity if you are required to be registered with or inspected/monitored by a statutory body to operate lawfully in the UK. You may also be required to provide proof that you have the necessary planning permit or authorization from the local planning authority.

The Home Office must be confident that you can provide genuine employment in a skilled occupation and that you will pay the Home Office’s wage rate.

You agree to accept all of the responsibilities that come with owning a sponsor licence as part of your licence application. Private persons are not usually qualified to be recognised as sponsors, however there is an exemption if the individual is a lone trader who wishes to sponsor someone to work for them.

Global Business Mobility Routes

The UK Home Office recently introduced the new Global Business Mobility Route that is designed for UK employers to recruit and engage skilled and specialist overseas workers on a non-permanent basis. 

The Global Mobility Route is divided into five subcategories, each of which is meant to help UK firms attract and engage skilled and expert personnel on a temporary basis. The majority of the channels replace prior immigration categories that were blocked at the same time on April 11th, 2022.

How to apply?

An application can be submitted from either outside or inside the United Kingdom provided the applicant does not have leave as a visitor, Short Term Student, Parent of a Child Student, Seasonal Worker, Domestic Worker or leave outside the Immigration Rules.

It is however important to note that none of these immigration routes lead to settlement in the United Kingdom.

Here are the 5 Global Mobility Routes:

  1. Senior or specialised employee

The Senior or specialised employee route that replaced the Tier 2 Inter-Company Transfer route, requires the applicant to have at least 60 points to be eligible for a sponsorship.

The visa does not have a “English language requirement,” but the applicant must meet the financial requirements. 

Unless their sponsor has verified maintenance on their Certificate of Sponsorship (entry clearance or leave to remain) or they have been in the UK for 12 months prior to the (leave to remain) application, they must have the appropriate amount of maintenance monies in their bank account.

Employees must work for the “sponsor group,” which is an overseas entity related to the UK entity by common ownership or control, in order to receive 20 points for sponsorship under this route.

If the person has worked for the company for less than 12 months, they must be a “High Earner,” earning at least £73,900 per year to be eligible for the visa.

High-earners can extend their visas, although they cannot be granted leave to remain for more than 9 years in any 10-year term.

All other Senior and Specialist personnel are not eligible for leave to remain that would allow them to stay for longer than 5 years in any 6 year period.

Time spent on the ICT category will count towards the total period when calculating the cumulative periods.

A Senior or Specialist employee can apply for up to 5 years at a time, subject to the limitations on cumulative leave durations.

Under this option, dependents (partners and children under the age of 18) can be sponsored to join or accompany the main applicant to the UK.

2. Graduate Trainee

The Intra-Company Graduate Trainee path has been rebranded as this one. It is designed for students enrolled in a graduate programme leading to a senior management or specialty post who must do a work placement in the United Kingdom. The role must pay at least £23,100 per year to fulfil the general wage criteria. Under the Global Business Mobility Routes and Intra-Company Routes, they are typically limited to no more than five years of stay in any six-year term.

3. UK Expansion Worker Route

This method is intended to allow foreign personnel to work in the UK in support of a foreign company’s development into the UK. It should be highlighted that the foreign company in question has not yet begun trading in the United Kingdom. The Representative of Overseas Business (Sole Representative) path has been replaced by this one. For sponsorship, the nominee must receive “60 points.”

The employee must be personally sponsored by the UK employer, unlike the Sole Representative Route. In that instance, the company must apply for a “provisional sponsor licence” from outside the country to help with the visa application.

Unless they qualify as a “high earner,” the candidate must have worked overseas for the company to receive 20 points for sponsorship.

4. Secondment Worker

This path allows foreigners to work in the UK on a temporary basis as part of a high-value contract or investment by their business overseas. The candidate must be sponsored by a UK company with which they will be on secondment that already has a Sponsor Licence. The applicant must also have worked for their overseas employer for at least 12 months. The UK company’s contract with the foreign corporation must be registered with the Home Office. Under the Global Business Mobility Routes and Intra-Company Routes, they are typically limited to no more than five years of stay in any six-year term.

5. Service Supplier 

This route replaces previous provisions in the International Agreement category and is intended for an overseas worker working in the UK on a temporary basis as a contractual service supplier (employed by a service supplying company) or as a self-employed worker. One of the UK’s international trade agreements must include their employment in the UK.

For sponsorship, the nominee must receive “40 points.”

The job’s skill level must fall under Option A (qualified roles for sponsorship under the Global Mobility route, which are normally graduate-level or above) or Option B (non-eligible roles for sponsorship under the Global Mobility route) (the candidate themselves holds a University degree unless the role falls on the list of exemptions, such as fashion modelling).

Employees must have worked for the service provider for at least 12 months outside of the UK, and nationality/residence status requirements will apply.


Employers can use the Global Mobility Route to sponsor personnel in the UK in a variety of ways. Employers who obtained a Tier 2 (Inter-Company Transfer) sponsor licence on 10 April 2022 and wish to continue to recruit and employ overseas workers in their UK branch may find the Senior or Specialist worker and Graduate Trainee to be a viable alternative. Employers who want to begin recruiting from their international offices can become a new Global Mobility sponsor. For overseas employees who are obliged to open a UK branch for their overseas company, the UK expansion worker will be a viable choice.

This alternative is less appealing than its predecessor, the Sole Representative route, because it is now a sponsored path that can only be given for one year at a time and does not lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain.

A Y & J Solicitors

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