The UK’s future relationship with Europe is uncertain, which means that companies may have to be licensed to sponsor non-UK workers for a Tier 2 (permanent) or Tier 5 (temporary) visa. At present this process applies only to non-EU citizens and is relatively straightforward, involving a simple online application.

Applicants must comply with certain basic requirements, pay a fee and supply supporting documentation demonstrating the recruiting company’s legal and financial status. Once a licence has been granted a suitable overseas employee can be sponsored for a UK work visa.

Currently no applications can be made for Tier 2 visas for most skilled jobs unless the post has first been offered within the EEA (European Economic Area). According to the provisions of the government’s resident labour market test (RMLT) a company can offer a job to an overseas applicant only if no UK or EU citizen is suitable. If a company is in compliance with these provisions and has acquired a licence to sponsor a Tier 2 visa employee, then the job can be offered to an overseas applicant. However the RMLT does not usually apply if the job is on the list of shortage occupations, which currently includes a vast range of engineering roles.

Skilled civil, electrical and mechanical engineers are in high demand in the UK in the fields of design, development, process and production engineering. The 2018 Engineering UK Report predicts there will be a significant shortfall over the next ten years in the number of suitable candidates for core engineering and related roles. Consequently it is likely that companies will increasingly recruit from outside the UK and the EU.

As a specialist recruitment agency, Cartisian Recruitment can advise on the preparation of licence to sponsor applications and help with creating a resident labour market test report if required. The government has a monthly allocation date for considering applications, which take at least one month to process. Preparation of documentation may also be time-consuming, so we recommend allowing at least two months to collect information and submit the application.