Professional Engineering: Migrant Workers

Employers struggling to find people with the necessary Stem skills may need to look to other countries, but the associated red tape can be daunting. Tanya Blake looks at how to go about bringing in recruits from abroad

To tackle the skills shortage in engineering, firms are increasingly looking to source qualified workers from overseas. However, traversing the legal processes involved can be a complex and intimidating experience.

The most common skilled worker visa applications in the UK fall into a category called Tier 2 (General), says Jennifer Stevens, senior associate solicitor and practice manager at Laura Devine Attorneys in New York, which specialises in all aspects of business immigration to the UK and US, and in European free movement. The most commonly used UK visa category for skilled workers is Tier 2 of the UK's Points Based System. Within this is a subcategory called Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer - ICT) visas, which are a useful option for firms with offices overseas.

This option allows companies to temporarily move employees to the UK for short or extended periods. It requires the company to act as a sponsor to the employee, which involves requesting a licence from the Home Office and providing a certificate of sponsorship to the employee.

A firm will need to submit an application to the government to prove it is an established UK company, and that it can meet all the sponsor duties required of it, including reporting migrant activity and ensuring its personnel files are up-todate. "They are signing up to a lot of responsibility under the Tier 2 category, and opening themselves up to the Home Office visiting them to make sure everything is being carried out correctly," says Stevens.

Jennifer Stevens, Laura Devine Attorneys

Read the full article published in Professional Engineering.