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        Employers, are you Ready for the New Immigration Rules?

        The new Immigration Act received Royal Assent last Wednesday and will come into force at 11pm on the 31st December when Freedom of Movement ends.  Are you ready for this?


        For many of us, this will change the way we recruit.  Over the last 17 years I’ve seen the architectural and design industry enjoy talent coming from the other EU 27 countries to work in the UK.  In particular Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria have been large contributors, enhancing and complementing our UK born workforce.  Once the new rules come into place, you will not be able to simply hire someone from the EU unless they have settled status or if they are from the Republic of Ireland.  Instead, the new rules put the rest of the world on a level playing field with the EU and all will require sponsoring by their new employer.

        Are you a Licenced Sponsor?

        If you have never sponsored an employee before, the chances are you are not a licenced sponsor.  You will need to apply via this link https://www.gov.uk/apply-sponsor-licence and pay the fee of £536 if you are a small company or £1,476 if you are a medium or large company.  Without this licence, you will not be able to employ people from outside the UK and Ireland unless they already have settled status or a different right to work in the UK.

        New Points System

        In order for someone to qualify for sponsorship, an applicant must achieve 70 points based on the following criteria:


        Characteristics Type Point
        Offer of job by approved sponsor


        Mandatory 20
        Job at appropriate skill level


        Mandatory 20
        Speaks English at required level


        Mandatory 10
        Salary of £20,480 to £23,039 or at least 80% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher)


        Tradeable 0
        Salary of £23,040 to £25,599 or at least 90% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher)


        Tradeable 10
        Salary of £25,600 or above or at least the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher)


        Tradeable 20
        Job in a shortage occupation as designated by the Migration Advisory Committee


        Tradeable 20
        Education qualification: PhD in a subject relevant to the job


        Tradeable 10
        Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job


        Tradeable 20



        Putting this into simple terms with the architecture and design industry in mind.


        • As a licensed sponsor making a job offer, the first 20 points are awarded
        • The applicant will need to be qualified to RQF 3 or above (A Level or equivalent) providing an additional 20 points
        • 10 further points will be achieved if the applicant speaks English at the required level


        This leaves 20 points remaining.  This can be achieved by offering a salary of £25,600 as long as this falls under the guidelines of the “going rate” or the role is classed as a shortage occupation.  Architects fall into this category and the final 20 points can be achieved using the minimum salaries below.

        • Part 1 graduate: £22,300
        • Part 2 graduate: £24,600
        • Part 3 graduate / newly-registered architect with less than 3 years’ experience since registration: £29,000
        • Experienced worker: £33,200

        There are also different salary rules for international students or “new entrants” who have studied in the UK on a Tier 4 visa.


        Once you have become a licenced sponsor, you will need to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for each application.  Each certificate costs £199.  You may also have to pay the Immigration Skills Charge of £364 for a small business or £1000 for a medium or large business.  These two links will provide more information.




        A Tier 2 visa application will take around 8 weeks although this can be reduced to 10 days at an additional cost.

        In Conclusion

        With only 7 weeks until these new rules come into place, it’s vital that if you intend to recruit from the EU or the rest of the world, you apply now to become a licenced sponsor to avoid delays.  I believe the new rules will encourage a more open-minded approach to sourcing staff from further afield.  This will culturally enrich our already diverse workforce, bringing talent, ideas, design ethos and skills from around the globe.


        E&OE – For full details on the new points based immigration system please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-points-based-immigration-system-employer-information/the-uks-points-based-immigration-system-an-introduction-for-employers

        Stewart Howl

        020 7993 6980


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