Many sponsors will by now be aware that the Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (RCoS) limit has been reached in each month since December 2017, a situation which we have previously reviewed.
Existing or new sponsor licence holders operating in the digital technology sector can apply to UKVI to be recognised as a ‘qualifying company’. This means that they will be able to sponsor workers in digital technology roles that appear on the Shortage Occupation List.
Shortage Occupation List
As there is a shortage of settled UK workers available to fill roles that appear on the Shortage Occupation List, the process of sponsoring workers to fill these roles is easier than in other situations.
One advantage of sponsoring workers into a role that appears on the list is that no Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) will be required. The RLMT is the process by which the role needs to be advertised for at least 28 days, in line with very specific requirements set out by the Home Office. Where a RLMT is required, this can cause a delay in the sponsoring process.
A further benefit however, and one that is particularly relevant in the current climate, is that roles that appear on the Shortage Occupation List are awarded a higher allocation of points than those that do not appear on the list. As the decision to award a RCoS is based upon a points allocation, those roles that attract a higher number of points are more likely to have an RCoS allocated to them. Since the cap was first reached in December, roles on the Shortage Occupation List have continued to meet the points requirement so are pretty much guaranteed to succeed.
Only qualifying companies are able to sponsor workers in digital technology jobs appearing on the Shortage Occupation List. In order for a company to be awarded the status of a qualifying company, it must meet the following requirements:
- have between 20 and 250 employees or, if there are fewer than 20 employees, have a letter from the Department for International Trade, confirming that the Department has been working with the company and supports the application in relation to its trade or investment activity;
- not be more than 25% owned by a company which has one or more other establishments in the UK and one of those establishments employs more than 250 employees; and
- not have been established in the UK for the purpose of supplying services exclusively to a single company or company group in the UK.
Digital technology roles
Roles that appear on the Shortage Occupation List include IT product managers, data scientists, senior developers and cyber security specialists.
In order to be sponsored in these roles as they appear on the Shortage Occupation List, the role must require a person with a minimum of five years’ relevant experience and demonstrable experience of having led a team.
Any organisation wishing to sponsor an individual in these roles would therefore be required to obtain previous references demonstrating their work and to provide detailed justification as to why the role requires someone with that experience.
We are experienced in assisting employers, including those operating in the digital technology sector, to obtain a sponsor licence.
If you would like to discuss the requirements to be met to sponsor workers in a digital technology role, or need assistance with any other area of sponsorship, please contact us.