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Build up your staff levels with international recruitment


Let us lay down the facts to help you decide if hiring from overseas is a viable option for your construction business in the UK.

Is there really a shortage of construction workers in the UK?

The UK construction sector is facing a major recruitment crisis as it needs to hire 56,000 new workers every year for the next 4 years. The total number of people working in construction has fallen by 10.5 percent since Q1 2019.  A mass exodus of European workers after Brexit combined with the COVID-19 pandemic and the unwillingness of the young generations to work in unglamorous jobs are all contributing factors.  

What can be done to resolve the shortage of builders and trades persons? 

The UK has welcomed foreign workers for decades to work in our care homes, hospitals, factories, farms, fields and offices. 286,000 people came to the UK to work in 2022.  The construction sector was heavily reliant on workers from Europe until Brexit in January 2021. The sponsorship visa route allows UK businesses to hire from overseas in 26 Construction roles. Of these, 5 roles will soon be added to the Shortage Occupations List. This is a great way for UK Construction businesses to bring in skilled workers who are highly motivated by the economical rewards of working in the UK, excellent infrastructure and world class public services. There is no limit on the number of people that can be hired and there are millions of great candidates for your to choose from. 

What is a Sponsor Licence?

A sponsor licence allows UK businesses to hire staff from anywhere in the world. Businesses need to be registered in the UK with HMRC for PAYE, have a business bank account and prove genuine trading activity in order to qualify. 


What construction roles are to be added to the UK Shortage Occupations List?

Brick layers and Masons, Carpenters and Joiners, Plasterers, Roofers and Slaters and Builders, 


How much do I need to pay to sponsored workers?

The going rates for all eligible skilled roles can be found here. Roles on the Shortage Occupations List can be paid less as an incentive for employers. For example, the going rate for a sponsored bricklayer is £12.91 per hour. However, as a Shortage Occupation role, this will be reduced to £10.75 per hour. 


How do I sponsor a worker from overseas?

First you need to get a Sponsor licence from the UK Home Office. Our team has done this for our clients for many years and we will carefully guide you through each step. We also have the necessary document templates and check lists to ensure you get the licence approval without any delay. Once the licence is granted, a request for Certificates of Sponsorship (COS) will be made for the roles that you need to hire using the Home Office online system. These COS will then be assigned to the staff being hired by you. They will then we able to get work visa approvals from their home countries. You can hire from anywhere in the world. There are no restrictions on this. 

How long does it take to get a licence?

It can take up to 6 weeks to get a licence approval from the time of application. However, we can help you do a priority licence application which gets the licence approval in 10 working days. 

What are the costs for a sponsor licence?

Licence fees are £536 for SMEs and £1476 for companies with 50+ employees and annual turnover above £10.2 million.

Can a start-up get a sponsor licence?

Yes. Both start-ups and established businesses can apply for a sponsor licence. Your business can be setup as a sole trader, partnership or a limited company. 

What documents are needed for a sponsor licence?

The mandatory documents needed are; Evidence of PAYE Registration / Business Bank Statement / Last set of accounts filed to Companies House (only for businesses trading more than 18 months) / Employers Liability Insurance Certificate / Proof of business premises (lease or land registry document if business property owned by applicant) / Details of your trading activities and registration with professional bodies if applicable. 

My business made a loss in recent year, can I still apply for a licence?


Which roles are eligible for sponsorship?

This is a comprehensive list of the skilled worker roles eligible for sponsored employment. The current Shortage Occupations List details the roles which have the benefit of lower visa fees and reduced salary requirements.

What documents will be provided to us for each candidate?

Identity documents such as Passport and National ID Card (If applicable) / English Language Certificate (To meet Visa requirements and prove communication ability) / Details of previous work experience / 2 Professional References / Contact Details / Educational Qualifications and Training Certificates. 

Can we interview the candidates?

Yes. We encourage all employers to interview candidates by video call. 

How do we verify their credentials?

We obtain professional references for all applicants and also carry out skill tests in their home countries. This is done on an individual basis and as required by the employers. 

What are the English Language Requirements for work visas?

Workers must pass an approved English language test (B1 Standard) by demonstrating that they are proficient in Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing. More details here

Can the staff hired from abroad bring their families with them?

Yes. They can bring their partners and children under 18. However, we advise new hires to first join their UK role and wait at least 3 months before proceeding with family applications to join them in the UK. 

How long can an overseas hire work for us?

A maximum of 5 years on sponsored visa route. They will be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain after this period and can continue to work for you as resident workers. There is no minimum period.

What does it cost a UK business to hire from abroad? 

This depends on the role and the duration of the visa. In general, a business will need to cover the applicants' visa application fee and pay the immigration skills charge. This is in addition to the sponsor licence fees. Contact us for a free breakdown of pricing for the specific roles you want to hire. 

What are your fees?

We have a sliding scale to suit all size of construction businesses. This starts from £450 per staff member hired and reduces as the number of staff increases. Ongoing compliance support fees start from £30 per month for up to migrant workers hired / £45 per month for 10-20 migrant staff hired / and £3 per migrant worker hired for 20+ employees. 

Can an employer stop sponsoring a worker if they are not satisfied with their performance?

Yes. You will simply need to update the information on the Sponsor Management System to inform the Home Office that you have stopped sponsoring the worker. 

How do we remain compliant with sponsorship duties?

As a licenced sponsor you must ensure that you only hire the right people for the right roles. This means doing your own checks and ensuring the recruitment process was ethical and in line with UK law. Once they are in the UK, you need to ensure that they are paid correctly and in line with their role. You also need to report any migrant activity such as end of sponsorship or changes in employment. All records relating to the migrant worker and their sponsorship must be accurately maintained by employers and you should remain aware of changes in sponsorship policy guidance. 

Our Compliance as Service package allows you to outsource all of this and we are happy to provide with you the details and pricing. Get in touch to find out more


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