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Brexit: Immigration advice for businesses

With the UK-EU transition period ending on 31 December at 11pm, it is important to be fully aware of the immigration policy changes that will then come into effect from 1 January.

It is however very important to note that none of the below applies to Irish Citizens as their current rights, under the Common Travel Area, to live and work in the UK will be preserved.

 

Hiring staff from outside the UK

  • From 1 January 2021, free movement will end and the UK will introduce a points-based immigration system. An introduction to the system is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-points-based-immigration-system-employer-information/the-uks-points-based-immigration-system-an-introduction-for-employers
  • The new system will introduce job, salary and language requirements that may impact the ability to hire from the EU
  • This system will enable employers to recruit skilled workers from around the world
  • Businesses will need to ensure they are a Home Office licensed visa sponsor; the job they are offering is at the required skill level – RQF 3 or above (A Level and equivalent); the job they are offering is above the required minimum salary level (£25,600 or the ‘going rate’ for that job – some employees may be paid less than £25,600, for example if their job is in a shortage occupation) and; the candidate speaks English to the required standard
  • If businesses are not already a licensed sponsor and they want to sponsor migrants through the skilled worker route from January 2021, they should register now via: https://www.gov.uk/uk-visa-sponsorship-employers

 

UK Shortage Occupation List

  • The £25,600 salary threshold does not apply if an occupation has been added to the UK’s Shortage Occupation List
  • For any occupation on the SOL, a lower salary of £20,480 will apply across the UK
  • The SOL is reviewed, approximately, every autumn with the most recent review being completed in September
  • This recommended making additions of plumbers, bricklayers and electricians but has not been accepted by the Home Secretary as yet
  • The current SOL is available via: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-k-shortage-occupation-list and does include, for instance, civil engineers, architects and quantity surveyors

 

EU Settlement Scheme

  • If one of your staff is an EEA national (excluding Irish Citizens), they will need to apply to the EU Settled Status Scheme
  • The deadline for applying is 30 June 2021 and they must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020
  • Further detail on the application process is available via: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families

 

Frontier Workers Permit Scheme

  • A frontier worker is an EU citizen (excluding Irish Citizens) who commutes into the UK for work but lives elsewhere
  • If you are employing any frontier workers in the UK by 31 December 2020, they’ll be able to keep their frontier worker status but only if they apply for a frontier worker permit
  • They will continue to be able to enter the UK using a valid passport or national identity card until 1 July 2021. From then on, they will need a frontier worker permit, as well as a valid passport or identity card, to enter the UK to work
  • The frontier worker permit scheme will open for applications on Thursday 10 December 2020 and more information is available via: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/frontier-workers-in-the-uk-rights-and-status