On 1 July 2021, new immigration rules came into place as the grace period for settled status ended. This has a significant impact on employers who have hired EU citizens, or intend to in the future.
Claire Clifford, Director of people, skills and culture at ACE outlines what this means for members and their staff.
As is always the case in immigration matters, your business should seek independent and professional legal advice before making any decisions.
From 1 July 2021, EU citizens working in the UK should now have a “settled” status. All EU workers without settled status must now have a work visa. Workers from the Republic of Ireland are exempt from these rules and – for employment purposes – are treated the same as a domestic hire.
For those who missed the 30 June deadline, the Home Office has produced an infographic with sources of help.
Businesses in the UK are now working with a points-based immigration system that treats EU (and EEA and Swiss), and non-EU citizens equally.
Under the new immigration system, a skilled worker coming to the UK for work must meet a specific set of criteria for which they will score points. Visas are then awarded to those who gain enough points.
No matter an individual’s circumstances, there are minimum requirements, including holding an A-level equivalent, a salary threshold of at least £25,600 and English language requirements. However, there is a list of “shortage occupations” where the minimum salary threshold can be lower.
Employers will be liable for a one-off fee to become a licenced employer, as well as a yearly immigration skills charge for every non-UK skilled worker employed.
All businesses looking to hire from abroad through the skilled worker system must now be licensed with the Home Office. As you can imagine this is a complicated area and a dedicated website has been set up which explores all of this in more detail, including exceptions for pre-existing global talent and graduate schemes.
It normally takes eight weeks to become a sponsor and additional fees apply.
Multinational organisations can still facilitate temporary moves into the UK for key business personnel through their subsidiary branches, subject to ICT sponsorship requirements being met.
Right to work checks
Employers will have to check whether employees have the right to work and a new process has been put into place. outlined in the video below which includes details of what applicant information and identity documents are required for each type of check, and links to further information.
Find out more
The Government has produced a number of resources to help businesses and workers navigate the new immigration rules. The links below are a great starting point to ensuring your business is on top of the new rules.
Visit the dedicated government website
The Employers guide to becoming a licensed sponsor of skilled immigrant workers
Your immigration status: an introduction for EU EEA and Swiss citizens
Listen to the 'official' podcast: Business and the future of immigration