Employers are being urged to apply for migrant worker sponsorship as soon as possible to avoid flouting new laws being introduced next month.

From October 1st, companies employing migrant workers from outside the European Economic Area will need a licence to act as a sponsor.

However, a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has revealed that 88 per cent of employers have yet to make an application to the UK Borders Agency (UKBA).

Julia Onslow-Cole, partner and head of global immigration at PwC Legal, said companies need to act now if they want to be registered in time to recruit from overseas.

"Currently, UKBA will only guarantee that sponsorship applications received by October 1st will be processed in time, leaving companies facing additional human resources challenges at a time of uncertain economic conditions."

The government recently unveiled a list of jobs that are likely to be available to non-European migrant workers under its new points based immigration system. It includes nursing, engineering and teaching.