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Immigration expert Sohan Sidhu, from Ellisons, explains the intricacies of employing an EU national

Following Brexit, since January 1, 2021, most European nationals who were not already resident in the United Kingdom (UK) by December31, 202,0 became subject to the UK’s immigration system which was already in place for non-EU nationals wishing to work in the UK.

The harsh reality for EU nationals and their prospective employers is that they now need to be sponsored by an employer under the UK’s Points Based System.

It is the case that many employers were happily continuing to function without needing a Home Office Sponsor Licence because they only employed workers in the UK who did not need sponsorship or EU nationals who also did not need to be sponsored. The landscape is now very different.

Sohan Sidhu, of Ellisons
Sohan Sidhu, of Ellisons

Employers are required to apply for and obtain a Home Office Sponsor Licence if they are looking to employ EU nationals, unless such EU nationals already have permission to live and work in the UK, for example, by being in possession of Settled or Pre-Settled Status.

Applying for a Home Office Sponsor Licence is a document-heavy application.

In addition to completing an online application and providing detailed information about the business, the Home Office also require documentary evidence confirming the business has a trading presence in the UK.


Processing times can be in the region of two months and once a Sponsor Licence has been approved, then further steps need to be followed for the proposed migrant to actually be able to commence their employment. This can include making an application to the Home Office if they are already in the UK or applying for a Skilled Worker Visa if they are outside the UK. Again, such processes can take time and businesses will need to factor in such timescales when considering the overall recruitment process.

There are also Home Office and Government fees which are payable at each stage of the process.

-- For advice on this or any other immigration matter, contact Sohan Sidhu by email at Sohan.Sidhu@Ellisonssolicitors.com or by telephone on 01284 763333