Talent shortages could worsen as only 3.5 per cent of UK employers have sponsor licence, according to recent data

Only a small minority of UK employers currently hold a licence to sponsor EU or non-EU workers, despite skills shortages, data shows. Analysis of Office for National Statistics data by Migrate UK found that while unemployment had dropped to its lowest level since 1974, many organisations are still failing to use sponsor licences to aid recruitment.

This is despite the fact that employers need to hold a sponsor licence from the Home Office to employ the vast majority of EU workers following Brexit. Helen Astill, founder and director of Cherington HR, said the lack of such licence could considerably disadvantage organisations and the economy’s ability to source talent as “it severely restricts the available talent pool while businesses are currently finding it really difficult to fill some of their posts with those who have the right to work in the UK”.

As sponsor licence applications currently take an average of two to three months to process, Migrate UK has advised businesses suffering from persistent skills shortages to apply for a sponsor licence to aid their recruitment.  It said that once a company has obtained the licence it can use it as needed, and this could improve the talent pipeline as it would make businesses more attractive to overseas employees. Chetal Patel, partner at Bates Wells, highlighted that sponsorship costs, visa fees, and bureaucratic red tape continue to be the biggest barriers for many organisations.

If you feel this is something which would help you recruit more effectively now or in the future, please be aware that we are able to apply for and manage sponsor licences on your behalf and can support you through the Home Office process.