The employer’s guide to Brexit and labour for 2021
| 4 min read|
end of the transition period
As the U.K. enters the post-EU world from the 1 January 2021, free movement of European workers ends. But there is still a lot of confusion around what this means for U.K. businesses that rely on European talent. Over recent years, companies in the U.K. have become increasingly global; it is not uncommon for businesses to be part of bigger groups, working on international projects and seeking talent from overseas.
The question many organisations are asking themselves right now is : “If the essential skills we need are not available locally, how will we continue to source the best talent for our business”?
EU Settlement Scheme
The door on free movement from the EU closes on 31 December, 2020, but the market has shown that much of the EU talent already embedded in the U.K. will not disappear overnight. As of October 2020, nearly 4 million people have already registered as permanent residents in the U.K. under the EU Settlement Scheme and therefore can continue living and working in the United Kingdom.
The cut-off date for this scheme is 30 June 2021, so it is worth checking whether EU workers (permanent employees or temporary workers) have signed up for this option as soon as you can. Otherwise, they will lose their right to work in the U.K. at the end of June 2021.
It’s also important to note that as one door closes, another opens, and with the right planning, U.K. businesses will be able to source talent from right across the world to fill key roles. Following are some considerations to keep in mind.
does your organisation want to be a sponsor?
In order to continue sourcing candidates internationally, your business will need to become a sponsor.
- Check whether your organisation is eligible.
Check to see whether the people you want to hire are eligible to come to the U.K. under the new points-based immigration system. You’ll need to ensure you provide the necessary supporting documents for your sponsor licence application.
- Ensure your organisation can manage its licence.
You need to appoint people within your organisation to manage the sponsorship process when you apply. These individuals will be responsible for ensuring your organisation remains compliant within the requirements of the licence. Be sure to keep a record of your sponsored staff to report to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).
- Allow allow eight weeks for the application.
You’ll need to apply and pay fees — which are dependent on the type of licences requested and the size of your organisation — online. These fees can range from £536 or £1,476.
You’ll also need to provide supporting documents and confirm how many staff you plan to recruit through the sponsorship system for the current financial year. There will be additional fees — in addition to usual visa application fees — associated with each sponsored staff member.
If successful, your licence will be valid for four years. If the prospective employee’s visa application is granted, they may travel to the U.K. and start working.
- Sponsor a worker — 15 days.
Once you have selected a candidate, they must make a visa application to work in the United Kingdom. You must first endorse your prospective employee’s visa through your sponsor licence account by requesting (then issuing) an electronic certificate of sponsorship.
After you pay the Immigration Skills Charge, the employee must then submit a visa application under the same category as your licence.
If you are sponsoring a migrant worker from outside the EU in 2020, you must normally advertise to the U.K. labour market for 28 days. If recruiting in 2021, you may immediately advertise globally, and non-U.K. nationals (including those from the EU) will need both a visa and your sponsorship to work at your organisation.
who can come to the UK to work?
From 1 January 2021, subject to some sector specific rules, a points-based system will apply to those individuals looking to work long-term in the United Kingdom. The Skilled Worker Visa will be available providing that certain criteria are satisfied. You should refer to the gov.uk website for the latest rules.
the Shortage Occupation List
The Shortage Occupation List will still be in operation but will be amended further in January 2021. The current list can be viewed here.
finding the best candidates, wherever they are
Randstad Sourceright operates around the world and can help you manage the challenges associated with post-Brexit recruitment. With direct on-the-ground sourcing capabilities across the U.K., EMEA, APAC, LATAM and North America, searches can be run from the U.K., utilising one of our global talent sourcing teams using in-depth search techniques to identify the best talent.
Our MSP direct sourcing teams are able to leverage talent connections from multiple sourcing hubs across Europe, leveraging local connections, knowledge and expertise.
Once the candidate has been identified, Randstad Sourceright can assist in arranging the online interviews and once the candidate is secured, we will then work with your HR team to ensure the relevant visa information is provided.