Daniel Behar / 29 March
March Newsletter – Visas and Sponsorships
This week we surpassed the one-year milestone marking the beginning of the pandemic and the UK going into full lockdown. With so much having happened in the past 12 months, the last year has often felt like five. We have had regulatory changes, presidential changes, Brexit withdrawals, three lockdowns and the roll out of the vaccination programme. With all this happening, there are many things affecting the recruitment and asset management industry which have seemingly gone under the radar. In this months’ newsletter we will discuss information over working visas for EU and non-EU internationals and what needs to be done when you are looking to hire someone to your organisation who is not British.
Following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, and the end of the transition period, freedom of movement ended at 11pm on 31 December 2020. The UK introduced a points-based immigration system that applies to anyone who wants to come to live, study or work in the UK, including EU nationals.
This of course has implications for employers looking to hire a candidate from another nation. Up until the 30th of June 2021 there is a grace period where EU citizens can work in the UK without sponsorship. If a candidate was living and working in the UK before 31st Dec 2020, the employer can apply for a settlement visa. However, EU citizens who enter the UK from 1 January 2021 will only be able to live and work in the UK if they already have pre-settled or settled status under the EU settlement scheme, or, they have indefinite leave to remain. If they don’t, they will need to apply for the right to live and work in the UK under the government’s new post-Brexit ‘points-based immigration system’.
EU citizens who are subjected to the new immigration system will be required to obtain employment sponsorship to work in the UK. This will mean that all UK employers who plan on employing an EU citizen will need to apply for and obtain a sponsor licence.
Employers must assign a certificate of sponsorship to each foreign worker they employ. For most European countries, getting these certificates to sponsor a new worker is quick and hassle free. Certificates are free for citizens of the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden or Turkey.
For citizens of countries not on that list, you need to pay for each certificate. Costings are £199 for a permanent employee, and £21 for a temporary worker.
Uncertainty in the Guidance
There is currently a grey area surrounding the government guidelines on UK employers (e.g., recruitment agencies like ourselves) contracting staff out to our clients. According to the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) “as an employment business, you won’t be able to sponsor workers. It is our view that clients would have to have a license and sponsor the worker, which will then be employed by their sponsor. As it stands, there’s no route for self-employed and for low skilled workers, which means providing workers via their own limited companies might not be an option as well.”
We have contacted the Home Office for more guidance on this and we await the outcome.
Links and Information
More information on this topic can be accessed using the links below: