UK Broadens Sponsorship Requirements For Creative Temporary Worker Visa Route

| May 31, 2024
UK Broadens Sponsorship Requirements For Creative Temporary Worker Visa Route

The United Kingdom (UK) has announced changes to the Creative Temporary Worker visa route.

As announced in the immigration rule changes on 11 March 2024, the route will no longer need to be on the Immigration Salary List (ISL).

The ISL replaced the Shortage Occupation List (SOL), which offered a 20-percent discount on the salary threshold for included jobs.  

The change is expected to significantly broaden the situations in which employers can use this route, ensuring its effectiveness and relevance.

Effective 16 May 2024, sponsors of Creative Temporary Workers must ensure the following compliance standards.

First, they must ensure that they have complied with the relevant Code of Practice where one exists for their job.

The Appendix Creative Worker Codes of Practice covers the following areas:

  • Ballet
  • Dancers (other than ballet)
  • Performers in film and television
  • Performers in opera
  • Performers in theater
  • Workers in film and television
  • Models in the fashion industry

Second, if there is no code of practice, they must ensure that the role meets three conditions:

  1. The role is in the creative industries.
  2. The role is listed in the Appendix Skilled Occupations.
  3. The workers can prove they can uniquely contribute to creative life in the UK.

The Appendix SKilled Occupations includes the following jobs:

  • Artists
  • Authors, writers, and translators
  • Actors, entertainers, and presenters
  • Dancers and choreographers
  • Musicians
  • Arts officers, producers, and directors
  • Photographers, audio-visual, and broadcasting equipment operators
  • Interior designers
  • Clothing, fashion, and accessories designers

Under the current rules, if the Creative Worker’s role doesn’t match a Code of Practice, the sponsor must ensure the role is included in the SOL.

Additionally, sponsors must prove they have considered local workers and have confirmed a settled worker can’t do the job.

Changes to sponsorship and creative worker eligibility standards

According to the statement of changes, sponsors for creative workers must “operate or intend to operate within the creative sector. “

They must also be authorized by the Home Office to sponsor the job in question under the Creative Worker route.

The sponsor doesn’t need to have a direct employment relationship with the sponsored worker but must be able to fulfill the relevant sponsor duties.

Creative Temporary Worker visa applicants must also confirm expenses paid by their sponsor.

This includes details of any transportation, living allowances, and other expenses paid by the sponsor.

It should also indicate whether the creative worker will pay back these costs through payroll deduction or other means.

Law firm Lewis Silkin stated this change should help the Home Office “prevent exploitation.”

It also helps “reduce the risk” of workers becoming poor by being paid low wages and then requiring them to pay back fees related to employment or sponsorship.

For indirect employment relationships, employers must communicate details of expenses and any cost paid back by the worker for necessary reporting.

Lastly, if an application for the creative temporary worker is denied, the applications of their accompanying entourage will also be rejected.

The Home Office already does this in practice. The amendment only clarified this for group applications under the Creative Temporary Worker route.

The UK ETA under the Creative Worker visa concession

Non-visa nationals applying for a Creative Temporary Worker Visa will need a UK Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA).  

The ETA is a new digital travel permit system for travelers who can visit the UK without a visa.

It is required regardless of whether the non-visa creative worker will travel to the UK by land, sea, or air.

The UK ETA costs £10 per application. It is valid for multiple visits over two years or until the passport it is linked to expires. 

Non-visa nationals must apply for and receive a valid ETA before traveling to the UK. They will not be allowed to board their carrier without it.

Usually, it takes around three days to process, but sometimes, receiving a decision on an ETA application can take longer than that.

Currently, the ETA scheme is only open to nationals of Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

However, the UK government plans for a more widespread rollout of the ETA for all visa-nationals in 2024.