Record number of Certificates of Sponsorship for healthcare workers
New data has recently been released by the Home Office that reveals the first insights into the UK’s new points-based immigration system.
One of the most prominent revelations from the new data is that the number of overseas healthcare workers issued with Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) reached a record high in the first quarter of 2021. The data revealed that 11,171 CoS were issued to healthcare workers in the first quarter of the year, a substantial increase to the 3,370 that were issued in the first quarter of 2018.
The rise in CoS’s for healthcare workers suggests an increasing number of foreign nationals coming to the UK to work in the healthcare sector. Nearly 40% of the Skilled Worker Visa applications that the home office received in the first quarter of this year were by applicants planning to work in the health and social work sector, this has risen by 19% since two years ago.
What is a Certificate of Sponsorship?
In order to qualify for a UK work visa overseas nationals must obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship from an approved UK company. A CoS verifies that the applicant has a job offer in the UK and that this is with a company who have a Sponsor Licence to be able to hire overseas workers.
A Certificate of Sponsorship is not a physical document but a digital one, it can only be issued by a company with a sponsor licence through the online Sponsor Management System (SMS).
Sectors seeing declining numbers of immigrant workers
Whilst the healthcare sector has seen an increasing number of overseas workers, the number of immigrant workers in other sectors has been decreasing. The IT, professional, scientific, technical, finance and education industries have all seen a decline in immigrant workers.
The IT sector has seen the biggest slump with 8,066 Skilled Worker Visa applications in the first quarter of 2020 being for IT workers, compared to just 3,720 in the first quarter of this year.
How has Brexit impacted immigration trends?
As a result of Brexit and the end of free movement between the EU and the UK, the UK introduces a new points-based immigration system at the beginning on 2021 that treats EU citizens equally to other immigrants. The data released by the Home Office offers a first look into how this new system has affected immigration.
So far, applications for visas by EU citizens have been low, making up only 5% of the 20,738 visa applications received in the first quarter of the year. During this time only 1,075 applications for Skilled Worker Visas and Health and Care Visas were made by EU citizens.
The Migration Observatory have said that it’s still too early to tell what impact the post-Brexit immigration system will have however. They said:
“So far, applications from EU citizens under the new system have been very low and represent just a few percent of total demand for UK visas. However, it may take some time for potential applicants (or their employers) to become familiar with the new system and its requirements. And crucially, the first months of the system’s operation were very unusual, because of the pandemic, travel restrictions, and lockdown. Net EU migration to the UK was already thought to be very low during 2020 for these reasons.”
How can IAS help?
Here at IAS, our expert immigration lawyers have decades of experience with helping their clients to navigate the UK’s immigration system. Our lawyers are also up to date on all of the latest changes to the immigration system. If you need help applying for a work visa, or if you’re a company looking to hire overseas workers are lawyers are here to help.
We can assist with a range of work visa applications including the Skilled Worker Visa and Temporary Worker Visa. If you are a company that wants to hire foreign nationals, our team can help you to apply for your Sponsor Licence and can advise you about your responsibilities as a UK sponsor company.
For more information about our immigration services, get in touch today on 0333 305 9375.
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