The likelihood is, most organisations will have been preparing for the end of the Brexit transition period for some time, however with COVID forcing so many changes on working life, businesses leaders and HR teams had their work cut out in 2020. I therefore, thought it would be helpful to do a quick summary, so you can make sure you haven’t missed anything, when it comes to Brexit and the immigration changes.
WHAT HAS CHANGED?
One of the most significant changes is free movement between citizens of the UK and the European Economic Area and Switzerland (EEA) has ended. This means citizens can no longer travel freely to work and study without barriers.
The UK has introduced a new system of immigration control and UK Citizens will be subject to the same controls as non-EEA nationals.
Existing employees must register on the EU Settlement scheme. This should have ideally of been done already, but there is a deadline of 30th June 2021.
Any European nationals entering the UK for the first time now, need to qualify for visa clearance under the immigration system. Most EEA nationals intending to work in the UK, will require visa clearance as a Skilled Worker under the new immigration system
The new system applies to the recruitment of EEA Nationals as it does to all other overseas nationals.
Essentially an employer must hold a sponsor licence from the Home Office, an employee must be sponsored to do a specific job, the job must meet a skill and salary threshold.
More roles will now be eligible for sponsorship as a skilled worker because the minimum skill threshold has been reduced from RQF level 6 (graduate occupations) to RQF level 3 (A-levels or Scottish Highers).
The general minimum salary threshold is being lowered from £30,000 a year to £25,600 a year. This is reduced to £20,480 minimum when tradable points are applied.
Employers must also pay the going rate for the role, as defined by the Home Office.
The cap on numbers of available visas is being suspended.
The Resident Labour Market Test requirement is being removed.
Sponsors must still be seeking to fill a genuine vacancy which meets the skill and salary thresholds.
The six-year maximum length of stay in the route has been removed.
The £35,800 salary threshold for settlement applications has been removed. Instead, sponsors must pay their skilled workers a salary which equals or exceeds £25,600 per year and the going rate for the occupation.
Make sure you understand the changes above.
Support existing EEA employees living in the UK in registering on EU Settlement Scheme.
Support UK Nationals living in an EEA country in following local processes to ensure they can continue to live and work in that country.
Be aware that recruitment processes under the immigration system will be more expensive - update your budgets.
There will also be implications on timelines - review you recruitment needs and adjust project timelines accordingly.
Check if you need a licence – If you have a chance take a look at the Government’s Brexit tool but essentially if you don’t have a licence and want to employ EEA workers arriving in the UK for work (even for short periods) you will need one.
I’ve tried to keep this short and sweet – I know many of you are time poor at present. If you wish to read more, I recommend you go straight to the Government website but as always I am here to help you work through any challenges you may come up against, please get in contact.