Right to Work Check: New Immigration System from June 30th

right to work check

With Brexit bringing an end to UK-EU freedom of movement, the process for checking an EU/EEA or Swiss applicant’s right to work will be changing. Until June 30th, current guidelines still apply. However, after that point, the government will introduce new immigration rules, and you will also need a sponsor licence to employ EEA citizens. Detailed information is available on the government’s website. We first covered changes to Right to Work checks back in February. However, the government has since released more information. Let’s summarise the main points of how Right to Work checks will change.

Right to Work Check from June 30th

The check will essentially be superseded by the UK’s new points-based immigration system. We can break this down into three major visa categories. Skilled workers, intra-company transfers, and “other routes”. However, each visa has its own requirements.

For a Skilled Worker Visa:

  • Applicants must speak English at the required level;
  • A Home Office licensed sponsor must give them a job offer;
  • That job offer must be at the skill level of “RQF3” – this is equivalent to A level;
  • They’ll need to have a salary of at least £25,600. However, the government can increase this if the “going rate” for the profession is higher.

There is some flexibility to the payment rules. Whilst there is a minimum of £20,480, the applicant can still obtain a Skilled Worker visa and the Right to Work through other means. For example, if the job is in an in-demand area (what the government calls a shortage occupation) or if they have a PhD in a relevant field.

Also, the remuneration rules vary for workers in some health or education jobs, as well as for those at the start of their career. The government provides further information on this here.

Intra-Company Transfers

This category of visa applies to an overseas worker for your business relocating to the UK. Visa applicants must be existing workers in roles that meet strict skills and salary levels.

  • A Home Office licensed sponsor must sponsor the worker as an Intra-Company Transfer;
  • The worker needs at least 12 months’ experience working for the company overseas, which must be linked via ownership to the UK business;
  • The worker must meet the skill level “RQF6” – equal to graduate level;
  • The salary must be at least £41,500, or again, the “going rate” for the job – whichever is highest.

Furthermore, this visa only grants a temporary Right to Work. Whilst workers can be assigned to the UK multiple times; they are limited to staying in the UK for up to five years in a six-year period.

However, if the salary is over £73,900, workers do not need to fulfil the requirement to have worked overseas for more than 12 months. They can also stay for up to nine years in a ten-year period.

Finally, if your applicant has come to the UK via a graduate training programme, they can apply for the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee visa. The requirements are generally the same, but there is some variation in the rules regarding overseas experience and salary.

Other Available Routes

The UK government provides a full list of worker routes in their “points-based system introduction for employers” document. Within these routes, there are ones such as “Global Talent” that do not require a sponsor license for you to hire them. Global Talent visas aim to attract promising people across a broad range of fields, such as the humanities, science, engineer, digital technology and the arts.

There is also the Youth Mobility Scheme, which allows around 20,000 people a year, aged 18-30, to come to the UK.

Sponsor Licence

If you want to employ someone from outside the UK – including the EU/EEA – you will probably need a sponsor license. This applies even if the work is unpaid. For example, if you are running a charity.

You will not need a licence to sponsor all groups. Some exemptions include:

  • People who have settled/pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme;
  • People who have indefinite leave to stay in the UK;
  • Irish citizens

The government provides further information on groups who do not need sponsorship here.

Obtaining a Sponsor Licence

  1. Check that your business is eligible via the government portal;
  2. Apply for the type of licence applicable to the type of worker you wish to sponsor;
  3. Make internal preparations within your business for who will manage sponsorship;
  4. Finally, simply pay the fee and finish your online application.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) may visit your business to check it’s suitable.

After you apply:

You’ll be given a licence rating if your application is successful.

You’ll be able to issue certificates of sponsorship if you have jobs that are suitable for sponsorship.

Your licence will be valid for 4 years. You may lose your licence if you do not meet your responsibilities as a sponsor.


Credence are here to advise you any upcoming changes to the Right to Work check, and the new immigration system.