Losing Your Job As A Sponsored Skilled Worker
If you are currently on the Skilled Worker route, your permission to be in the UK is dependent on your employment, with the same employer and in the same role. This is also the case if you still have valid permission under the historic Tier 2 (General) worker route.
This is not applicable if, for example, you are in the UK with settlement under the EU Settlement Scheme because you are not a sponsored worker.
Therefore, if your employment ends this will impact your permission to stay in the UK. The impact on your permission is the same no matter how your employment was terminated, but recently this has been particularly applicable due to an increase in redundancies made in the technology sector.
How Long Do I Have to Decide What To Do?
Your employer, as the holder of a sponsor licence, will need to report that they have stopped sponsoring you as a worker to UK Visas and Immigration within 10 days of termination of employment. This is done using the Sponsor Management System.
Following this, you will receive a curtailment of leave letter which sets out that you have 60 days following the end of your employment to make arrangements. The exact expiry date of your leave will be on the letter. In some circumstances, leave can be curtailed immediately but this would be in exceptional circumstances. Further information on curtailment of leave can be found in this blog.
Even though your employer has ceased sponsorship, you are entitled to work for any applicable notice period in your current job, including any gardening leave. You are also able to make a fresh immigration this time whilst working your notice period.
Generally, it is best to look for a new job or suitable immigration route as soon as possible if you wish to stay in the UK.
Can I Switch to Another Route?
There are various business immigration routes you may wish to consider, depending on your circumstances, including:
- Global Talent route – this is for talented or promising individuals working in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, humanities, digital technology and arts and culture.
- Scale-Up route – this requires sponsorship from a company with a Scale-up sponsorship, a highly skilled job offer at the required salary level
- Innovator Founder route – this is for those wishing to establish a business in the UK. You would need an innovative, viable and scalable business idea to gain endorsement from an endorsing body.
Can I Stay on the Skilled Worker Route?
You may be able to stay on the Skilled Worker route by finding a new employer willing to sponsor you. The employer will need a sponsor licence and they should issue and allocate you a certificate of sponsorship. You can then make the immigration application to obtain permission to work in your new job.
You would need to demonstrate that the job is a genuine vacancy, at the appropriate skill level and that it meets the salary requirements. Further information on the eligibility requirements for the Skilled Worker route can be found here.
It is also worth noting that it is possible to set up a business in the UK, or if you own an existing one, which can sponsor you, known as self-sponsorship under the Skilled Worker route. The company would need to first obtain a sponsor licence.
Whether you are staying on the same route or switching to another, it is crucial that the application is submitted prior to the expiry of your existing permission. Once the application is submitted, your permission is automatically extended under section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971, until a decision is made.
What Is the Impact Of Termination On My Supplementary Work?
Under the Skilled Worker route, you may be permitted to engage in supplementary and secondary employment in addition to your sponsored role. When your employment comes to an end, you are no longer permitted to carry out this additional work.
Will This Impact My Indefinite Leave to Remain Application?
Yes, it may impact your prospects of applying for indefinite leave to remain. You can apply for indefinite leave to remain if you have been in the UK for a 5 year continuous period as a Skilled Worker or under the historic Tier 2 (general) work route. This time can be spent on a combination of the two aforementioned routes.
Your employer, who continues to sponsor you, must confirm you are still required to work for them and will be paid a minimum salary for the foreseeable future. This would therefore be challenging to obtain should sponsorship cease.
If you switch to another route, you should check whether you can combine your time spent in the UK with permission under the Skilled Worker route to count towards a settlement application.
Can I Travel in the Meantime?
If you have submitted an immigration application, it is not advisable to travel because of the added element of risk when returning depending on the timings. For example, a Border Officer may access your cancellation letter and not permit you re-entry to the UK as a worker. Further information can be found on this here.
If you are eligible to re-enter the UK using the e-gates, you will be entering as a visitor once your sponsorship has ended. As a visitor, your conditions of permission in the UK are different to that of a Skilled Worker.
There is of course the option to leave the UK. This should be done prior to your existing permission expiring to avoid overstaying. It may then be possible to make an entry clearance application at a later stage.
Contact Our Immigration Barristers
For expert advice and assistance in relation to options following losing a sponsored job, including a further Skilled Worker application or switching routes, contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via the enquiry form below.