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Can a Recruitment Agency Sponsor a Skilled Worker for a Third Party?

Since the UK left the EU, there are significant amendments occurred in the UK Immigration Law. Prior to Brexit, all the EU nationals could come to the UK to work without any restrictions through freedom of movement for workers, but now, they need to be sponsored by employers that have sponsorship licences under the SW 5.1. of Immigration Rules Appendix Skilled Worker. These changes also affect negatively the recruitment agencies in the UK to find foreign workers an eligible job by signing agency contracts.

Although there are many different types of recruitment agency contracts, one of the most common ones is that a particular employee works under the recruitment company's payroll and works for a third-party company. But for the Brexit and immigration rules changes, it is not as easy as before for the recruitment agencies to supply workers for the companies due to the lack of right to work in the UK for EU.

At the beginning of 2021, the UK Home Office opened the applications for Skilled Worker visas which is similar to the previous type of Tier 2 General Worker Visa. Under the new route, in order to employ a foreign national (including the EU Nationals) under an organisation in the UK, the organisation in question needs to obtain a sponsorship licence under the aforesaid immigration rules. Thinking of the third party works and recruitment agencies, the Home Office caseworker guidance for Skilled Worker Visa states that: “Where a Skilled Worker is being supplied to one organisation by another organisation, their sponsor must be whoever has full responsibility for the duties, functions and outcomes, or outputs of the job''

Namely, a sponsor can only assign a Certificate of Sponsorship Licence (CoS) if they have full responsibility for the frame of the work. The restrictions are also stated as follows:

  • The Applicant must be contracted by their sponsor to provide a time-bound, non-routine service or project on their sponsor’s behalf. This means a service or project which has a specific end date, after which it will have ended, or the service provided will no longer be operated by their sponsor or anyone else.

  •  It also means an applicant must not be either:

  • hired to a third party who is not the sponsor to fill a position with that party,

  • whether temporary or permanent (for example, an agency worker filling a vacancy with a third party) engaging in contract work to undertake an ongoing routine role or to provide an ongoing routine service for a third party who is not their sponsor, regardless of the nature or length of any arrangement between the sponsor and the third party.

Hence, a skilled worker can work for third party premises for a time-bound project but must be a non-routine service. Nonetheless, this cannot be a tool for recruitment agencies to sponsor skilled workers under their sponsorship and then allow them to be hired by a third party.

If you need to get more information regarding Skilled Worker Visa, you can contact us via 

Ahmet Husrev


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