Employing EU citizens in the UK: post-Brexit

by Paramount Recruitment

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As a result of the 2016 referendum, the UK has now officially left the EU. Freedom of movement between UK and EU ended on 31st December 2020. If you’re a UK business hiring candidates from the EU (or outside) or an EU national looking to work in the UK, we have put together a handy summary detailing these new changes.

EU Settlement Scheme

EU citizens living in the UK by 31 December 2020 can continue to live and work in the UK. They should apply for ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status under the EU Settlement Scheme and will have until 30 June 2021 to make the application. Full details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families.

Applicants will receive ‘settled’ status if they have been in the UK for more than 5 years – this is indefinite leave to remain (ILR). Applicants will receive ‘pre-settled’ status if they have been in the UK for less than 5 years. Pre-settled gives applicants 5 years ILR. After they have lived in the UK for a total of 5 years, applicants can apply for ‘settled status’.

Employers can still rely on passports and ID cards to do “right to work” checks until 30 June 2021.

Skilled Worker route – (replaces Tier 2)

Since 1 January 2021, a new ‘points-based’ immigration system has been in place. Under this system, anyone coming to the UK for work must meet a specific set of requirements which is scored. Visas are then awarded to those who gain enough points.

Workers wanting to come to the UK from 1 January 2021 will need to show:

  • they have a job offer from a Home Office licensed sponsor
  • the job offer is at the required skill level - RQF 3 level education (A level equivalent) or above
  • they are a competent English speaker
  • they have a salary meeting the threshold of £25,600 or the specific salary requirement for their occupation, known as the ‘going rate’.

All applicants will have the option to trade characteristics against a lower salary to get the required number of points. If the job offer is less than the minimum salary requirement, but no less than £20,480, an applicant may still be eligible if they have:

• a job offer in a specific shortage occupation

• a PhD relevant to the job

• a PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job

There is no cap on the number of visa applications. The skilled worker visa will last up to 5 years, at which point the worker can apply for an extension.

Global Talent Route

The Global Talent route has opened to EU citizens on the same basis as non-EU citizens. This means very highly skilled workers can enter the UK without a job offer if endorsed by a recognised UK body, as approved by the Home Office.

This route is designed to attract recognised global leaders and promising individuals in science, humanities, engineering, the arts and digital technology. This includes senior appointments, academic and research roles.

Licensed Sponsors

If you want to recruit workers through the Skilled Worker route from outside the UK, you will need to apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship. The processing time is around 8 weeks and will cost either £536 or £1476 depending on the size of your business. This certificate will be valid for 4 years with no cap on the number of visas that can be applied for.

In addition, the employer will be required to pay an immigrations skills charge - £1000 for the first year of work in the UK and then £500 for each additional month (or £364 and £182 for small businesses respectively).

The Global Talent route is 'unsponsored' therefore you don't need a licence to hire employees with an unsponsored visa.

You do not need to be a sponsor to recruit Irish citizens or anyone from the resident labour market with an existing right to work in the UK.

The Outlook

CIPD say, since June 2016 there has been a 95% fall in EU nationals joining the UK workforce. Which isn’t surprising given the uncertainties about leave the EU.

Many businesses who are reliant on EU national have reported increased challenges in recruiting. What is for sure is that top talent is always in-demand and therefore recruitment will never completely fizzle in a post-Brexit environment.

Paramount Recruitment searches internationally to find the best talent for the Healthcare Communications, Pharmaceutical and Genomics industries. Click here to view the latest roles we have available or get in touch where you can have an in-depth conversation about your next career move, or if you any queries about Brexit.

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