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2 May 2024

5 problems employers face when hiring international employees

There can be many difficulties for businesses who are interested in hiring international employees. We shall discuss this and tell you how we can help in our guide.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Woman stressed after discovering problems with hiring international employees.

Worker visas are the primary way for migrants to enter the UK, with the Skilled Worker Visa being by far the most popular route. 

With there being so many people coming to work in the UK, then it is easy to come to the conclusion that there must be many businesses who hold Sponsor Licences who want to go through the process of hiring international employees.

Any of the large number of businesses that hire overseas workers should be aware of the difficulties involved in the process, and how some of them can be avoided with the help of expert assistance. 

We shall highlight a few of these issues. If reading through this guide raises any concerns related to applying for a Sponsor Licence, then read to the end to see how we can help you.

1. Difficulty hiring international employees

One of the most likely issues, and the first you will likely encounter, is that you may find hiring international employees difficult to begin with. 

This issue will vary heavily depending on the field your business operates in. If it is something more specific, then you may find it difficult to find a suitable employee due to the limited number of available applicants. 

The opposite to this issue is a large pool of applicants, but none of them have the required skills that you are looking for. 

If you are planning on investing in an overseas employee by paying for a Sponsor Licence and any other fees involved, you want to know that you are hiring a truly skilled individual who will bring something to your company.

Sadly, this is not something a legal expert can help you with. However, you may be able to find a recruitment agency to help your business.

2. Language and cultural differences

Hiring international employees can come with issues around cultural differences, and language.

Upon their arrival in the UK, your new overseas employee will be trying to get used to  the customs of the UK.

Depending on where they are from, the differences can be big or small. Someone from Australia, for example, speaks English, but there will be some words that exist in Australia, but not in the UK. Some have different meanings. For example ‘thongs’ in Australia are flip flops in the UK. These are the kinds of differences that are ultimately harmless, and can even lead to some fun conversations.

However, if they are from somewhere that does not speak English to a great extent, then there may be issues with communication. Some more complex concepts may be misunderstood, or lost in translation. 

Also, cultural differences could cause misunderstandings. For example, certain gestures may mean something different, or there may be items of clothing that are generally uncommon in the UK, but are a core part of your employee’s culture. 

To deal with any barriers, it could be a good idea to plan a work event and provide training for both your domestic employees, and your international employees. This will allow your employees to explore each other’s cultures, and come to understand each other’s differences. 

3. Rejected visas

Another problem is that sometimes, when hiring international employees, they may not successfully get a visa. 

Their visa can be rejected for a number of reasons, such as not having the funds to financially support themselves in the first month they stay in the UK. They can also be rejected due to having a criminal record, or for more mundane reasons such as just not completing their application properly.  

An overseas worker rejected for reasons such as an incomplete application will cost you a bit more time, but you will still be able to hire the employee once they have sorted out what they did wrong. 

However, if they are rejected for more serious reasons, then it will impact your business. Not only will you have wasted time and money, you will have to spend even more time looking for someone with the suitable skill set for the role. 

You should take precautions by carrying out background checks and asking for references to ensure that when you are hiring international employees, everything goes smoothly. 

Also, if the worker was rejected due to a lack of funds to support themselves, you yourself can solve this by stating that you will support them for their first month in the UK. This will require you to fill out the relevant section on the Certificate of Sponsorship that you issued to the worker.

4. The costs of hiring international employees

Related to the above paragraph, the costs of hiring international employees can be high. From Sponsor Licence fees, to potentially having to pay for their first month in the UK, the money can build up. 

If there is an overseas worker that you want to hire, then there is not much you can do, as many of these costs are a part of the process. 

However, it should be noted that Sponsor Licences now last 10 years, so you will not have to pay application fees again for a long time. 

Sometimes, you have to spend money to improve your business. If you think hiring international employees is worth it, then you should invest in them.

5. Increased workload

Beyond the time spent applying for a Sponsor Licence and looking for an overseas worker, you will also have new responsibilities as a sponsor. 

When your new employee has come to the UK and started working, you will need to start monitoring their activity at work. 

You will need to assign four roles to people within your company. These are:

  • Authorising officer
  • Key contact
  • Level 1 user
  • Level 2 user

There must always be at least a Level 1 user, Also, Level 1 and Level 2 users are the ones who are given access to the Sponsorship Management System (SMS). The SMS is where the activity of the worker will be logged, and it is also what you will use to issue Certificates of Sponsorship. 

Having to monitor the work activities of your employee and reporting any unauthorised absences will give the people you assign the above roles more work to do. 

Also, UK Visas and Immigration carry out checks to ensure that you are complying with your responsibilities as a sponsor. These can be announced or unannounced, so this may impact the work day that they take place on.

How we can help

If you are unsure about the process of hiring international employees and the Sponsor Licence, and would like some guidance, then our expert legal team can help you. 

Arrange a free 10-minute assessment to discuss your issue with our team, so they can see if we can help you or not. After, if they determine that they can help, you will be able to book a longer, paid consultation that lasts either 30 minutes, or an hour. 

In the longer consultation, you will be provided with guidance related to your issue, which in this case would be the Sponsor Licence. The team member who deals with your case will be happy to answer any questions that you have. 

Get in touch with us today if you want any help with hiring internationals employees, and Sponsor Licences.

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If you have any questions, or want to book an appointment with one of our legal experts, contact Woodcock Law today. Call us on +44 (0)20 7712 1705 or email

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