Truth Legal recently guided a small business through the complexities of getting a Skilled Worker sponsor licence, allowing the business to continue employing an Australian national beyond the expiry date of her visa.
An irreplaceable employee
The worker in question was Amy, an Australian national with a doctorate in Organisation Psychology from Griffith University, Australia. Amy came to the UK in February 2020 on a Tier 5 Temporary Work visa to work for advertising and marketing agency No Logo.
Based in Edinburgh, No Logo represents and collaborates with influencers and social media content creators. It’s a modern and unique form of advertising, requiring modern and unique thinking from those working in the field.
As No Logo’s Talent Manager, Amy worked with creators from across the world to structure content, manage strategy, and grow engagement. She also relied on her Psychology doctorate to coach creators through burnout, anxiety, and negative online feedback.
Amy excelled in the role, and was rewarded with a promotion within the first 18 months of her employment.
An expiring visa
Through all this success, nagging away in the background was Amy’s temporary status in the UK. Her visa was due to expire in February 2022, just a few short months after her promotion.
With Amy keen to stay in the UK and No Logo unwilling to lose her, the agency’s attention soon turned to how it might employ Amy in the long term.
How Truth Legal helped
Like many employers, No Logo started with a Google search, and was understandably daunted by the vast quantity of information that was churned out. If you’re new to sponsorship, even Government guidance often serves to confuse rather than clarify. The new Skilled Worker sponsor licence replaced what used to be called the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence in December 2020.
Truth Legal helped demystify the Skilled Worker sponsorship system for No Logo. Immigration solicitor Michelle Lee was able to show how sponsorship could be used to No Logo’s advantage, and ultimately allow the agency to achieve its objective of employing Amy in the long term.
An early focus point was Amy’s doctorate. Under Home Office guidance, an employer can benefit from reduced minimum salary thresholds where a worker to be sponsored has a UK PhD (or overseas equivalent) which is relevant to their role. For this to work, the employer must provide a “credible explanation” of how the doctorate is relevant.
Amy helpfully explained via video call how she used her doctorate in her day-to-day role, giving Michelle some useful ideas about how to draft a “credible explanation”, if one was needed.
Michelle was also talking to No Logo about the benefits and risks of the doctorate approach. Michelle provided a written risk assessment identifying all possible outcomes, both good and bad, and she was on hand to answer any questions while the business made its decision.
Ultimately, No Logo decided on a zero-risk approach by raising Amy’s salary, thereby avoiding the need to rely on her doctorate.
At Truth Legal, we aim to provide our business clients with advice which is legally and commercially effective. You’re the expert on what’s best for your business, but we can help ensure that your decisions are informed by solid legal advice.
With No Logo’s decision made, Michelle guided the business through the Skilled Worker sponsor licence application. As is standard for our business clients, Michelle registered the online application, reviewed No Logo’s evidence, and drafted a cover letter containing the mandatory information required by the Home Office. Happily, the licence was granted without issue.
Amy then applied for her visa and made the switch from Tier 5 Temporary Worker, to Skilled Worker sponsored by No Logo.
No Logo commended Truth Legal’s “great professional service” and had this to say:
“We received fantastic service from Michelle to get our Sponsor Licence Application completed. She explained everything to us very clearly along the way, offered lots of advice and was very fast at getting everything sorted. Would highly recommend.”
It’s feedback like that which makes a sometimes difficult job so rewarding for all at Truth Legal.
The future’s bright
As a sponsored worker, Amy starts the clock on the five years’ residence she needs to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). With ILR Amy can stay in the UK without time limitations, and even apply for British citizenship if she meets the other requirements.
For No Logo, sponsorship has essentially removed the deadline on Amy’s employment. Although No Logo will need to facilitate the renewal of Amy’s Skilled Worker visa, Amy’s employment can now continue for as long as both parties want it to.
As an aside, a further benefit to employers is that a sponsored Skilled Worker like Amy can only leave if they find another employer willing and able to sponsor them. This can bring about more loyalty from sponsored workers than from settled workers, as the latter can choose from a much larger pool of competing employers.
That said, we understand Amy is happy at No Logo and has no current plans to look elsewhere!
Do you need to sponsor an Amy?
If you’re worried about a worker’s visa expiry date, speak to our immigration experts today.
We advise on all aspects of the Skilled Worker sponsor licence, including sponsoring workers already in the UK, like Amy, and sponsoring workers based overseas. You can read more client testimonials here and here.