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What will the post-Brexit immigration system mean for your business?

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At the end of this year, Britain will leave the EU. Recent figures suggest that there are approximately 993,000 EU nationals working in London currently (excluding Cyprus, Malta, and Republic of Ireland nationals). This means that the post-Brexit regulations will have a huge impact on the London workforce. 

This week, we take a look at some frequently asked questions on Brexit to see what the new regulations mean for your business, employees, and your hiring processes. 

What do I do to support EU nationals working in my organisation?

Help EU/ EEA/ Swiss national employees and their families to apply for Settled or Pre-Settled status under the European Settlement Scheme (EUSS) by 30 June 2021. Compile a list of the employees that may be affected and then take the appropriate steps to help them. They can apply here

Will I need to change my policies after January 2021?

Yes, you will likely need to change your policies. The UK Government is planning to introduce a new immigration system for those who want to work in the UK for an extended period; however, a draft scheme is yet to be announced. 

Will the transition period end-date change due to COVID-19?

No. The Government’s stance is that businesses should continue preparing for the end of the transition period and the introduction of the new points-based immigration system, due to be introduced on 1 January 2021.

Find the latest Government guidance here.

From what date do I need to ask new or existing staff for evidence of UK settlement status?

EU citizen staff who are already in the UK or arrive before 1 January 2021 can continue to work without needing to show settlement status until 1 July 2021.

EU citizens who enter the UK for work from 1 January 2021 will need to meet the UK’s post-Brexit migration requirements.

What is likely to be the main components of the UK Government’s post-Brexit immigration system?

The government’s post-Brexit immigration system will be a single system for all nationalities. From 1 January 2021, EU/EEA/Swiss citizens (except Irish citizens) will be subject to the same migration restrictions as non-EU citizens.

The government have released a White Paper which sets out some of the policies that are likely to feature and includes:

  • A minimum salary threshold of £30,000, although there will be some exemptions, especially for public service occupations.

  • A minimum skill threshold of RQF Level 4 (A-level occupations)

  • A Youth Mobility Scheme which will allow 18-30-year-old EU citizens to live and work in the UK for a period of up to two years. It is highly likely that this will be subject to quotas. This will complement the existing Youth Mobility Scheme that covers around a dozen countries e.g. Australia, Canada, etc.

  • A one-year temporary visa for unskilled and skilled workers

You can read the full White Paper here.  

Can I get around the £30,000 minimum salary threshold?

For the majority of cases, the £30,000 threshold will apply. However, there are several ways to get around this:

  • The Youth Mobility Scheme for EU citizens, which allows 18-30-year-old EU citizens and non-EU citizens from around a dozen countries to come to the UK to live and work without a job offer, would enable employers to circumvent the sponsorship system.

  • A second option is the one-year temporary visa, which would allow employers to recruit unskilled and skilled workers for a period of up to 12 months. This may also include a 12-month cooling-off period.

What is the cost of recruiting a non-UK citizen from 2021?

From January 2021, employers will have to be aware of the increased costs incurred when hiring someone from outside the EU. These include:

  • A sponsorship license to recruit non-UK nationals, which will apply especially to high-volume users of the system. The current cost for a sponsor licence is £1,536 for medium and large businesses and £536 for small businesses. Future fees have not been set.

  • An Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) for every worker you sponsor. The ISC is currently set at £1,000 (or £364 for small or charitable sponsors) for the first 12 months of a worker’s employment with a sponsor, and £500 (or £182 for small or charitable sponsors) for each subsequent six months.

What will the new immigration system mean for right to work checks for EU/ EEA/ Swiss citizens?

There will be no need to repeat checks for existing employees from 1 January 2021 with the introduction of the new immigration system. However, new employees are likely to need evidence of settled status, pre-settled status or a visa.

What implications will the new immigration system have for movement between the UK and Ireland?

Irish and UK citizens can continue to travel freely for business travel and to live and work between both countries under the Common Travel Agreement (CTA). Irish nationals currently working in the UK will not need to apply for settled status in the UK.

If you are concerned about what the new Brexit regulations mean for you and your business, speak to a member of our team, who will be able to help guide you through the new hiring process. 


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