Following our last blog on getting ready to leave the EU we wanted to address what you need to do going forward when employing EU citizens in the UK after Brexit.
It is worth noting that because of Covid-19 there could be changes to any of the current guidance, and currently there are temporary changes to the way you can check documents (Right to Work checks) including asking for documents digitally, making checks on a video call and what to do if someone cannot provide any accepted documents.
We know that there is a huge amount of change and uncertainty for you as a business owner right now and we hope to guide and support you with all the latest government advice.
Until 30th June 2021 you will continue to check a job applicant’s right to work in the same way as you currently do now. Until this date a job applicant can prove their right to work in the following ways:
· EU, EEA or Swiss citizens can use their passport or national identity card
· non-EU, EEA or Swiss citizen family members can use an immigration status document listed in the right to work checks employer guide
· EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members can use the online right to work checking service
· Irish citizens will continue to prove their right to work in the UK as they do now.
As an employer you have a duty not to discriminate against EU, EEA or Swiss citizens and you cannot require them to show you their status under the EU Settlement Scheme until after 30 June 2021.
What is the new immigration system and when does it start?
From 1 January 2021, freedom of movement between the UK and EU will end and the UK will introduce an immigration system that will treat all applicants equally, regardless of where they come from. Anyone you want to recruit from outside the UK, excluding Irish citizens, will need to apply for permission first.
EU citizens applying for a skilled worker visa will need to show they have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor to be able to apply. If you’re an employer planning to sponsor skilled migrants from 2021, and are not currently an approved sponsor, you should consider applying now using this link.
From 1 January 2021 you will need to have a sponsor licence to hire most workers from outside the UK.
If you’re already a licensed Tier 2 (General) visa sponsor, you’ll be automatically granted a new Skilled Worker licence.
The new system will not apply to EEA or Swiss citizens you already employ in the UK. EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK by 31 December 2020, and their family members, can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (they have until 30 June 2021 to apply).
What are the different routes to recruiting outside of the EU after January 2021?
Recruiting skilled workers
From 1 January 2021, anyone you recruit from outside the UK for the Skilled Worker route will need to demonstrate that:
· they have a job offer from a Home Office licensed sponsor
· they speak English at the required level
· the job offer is at the required skill level of RQF3 or above (equivalent to A level)
· they’ll be paid at least £25,600 or the ‘going rate’ for the job offer, whichever is higher.
If the job will pay less than this - but no less than £20,480 – the applicant may still be able to apply by ‘trading’ points on specific characteristics against their salary. For example, if they have a job offer in a shortage occupation or have a PhD relevant to the job.
There will not be a general route for employers to recruit from outside the UK for jobs offering a salary below £20,480 or jobs at a skill level below RQF3.
Intra- company transfers
If you want to transfer a worker from a part of your business overseas to work for you in the UK, they can apply for the Intra-Company Transfer route. Applicants will need to be existing workers who will undertake roles that meet the skills and salary thresholds.
From 1 January 2021, workers transferring to the UK will need to:
· be sponsored as an Intra-Company Transfer by a Home Office licensed sponsor
· have 12 months’ experience working for a business overseas linked by ownership to the UK business they will work for.
· be undertaking a role at the required skill level of RQF6 or above (graduate level equivalent)
· be paid at least £41,500 or the ‘going rate’ for the job, whichever is higher
Permission for workers transferred to the UK on the Intra-Company Transfer route is temporary. Workers can be assigned to the UK multiple times, but they cannot stay in the UK for more than five years in any six-year period.
Workers paid over £73,900 do not need to have worked overseas for 12 months and can stay for up to nine years in any ten-year period.
Workers who are transferred to the UK as part of a structured graduate training programme for up to one year can apply for the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route. The requirements are the same except there are different rules on length of overseas experience and salary.
A full list of worker routes can be read in the points-based system introduction for employers document here.
EEA and Swiss citizens can use their passport or national identity card to prove they can work in the UK until 30 June 2021.
The EU Settlement scheme
EU, EEA or Swiss citizens and their family members who are living in the UK before 1 January 2021 need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.
The government has provided an employer toolkit which you can share with your employees regarding the EU Settlement Scheme here.
Applications are open for the EU Settlement scheme now and the deadline is 30 June 2021.
It’s important to get ready now for the changes that will come into place from 1 January 2021 and if you would like any further advice or guidance regarding your employees then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information on the changes that come into action from January 2021 please read our last blog here.