On 24 September the Home Office published new guidance for employers recruiting people from outside the UK from 2021.
The guidance gives a brief overview of the key routes for entry to the UK post- Brexit, focused on sponsoring workers under the new immigration system that goes live next year.
What are the routes to entry?
Skilled workers are required to;
- have a job offer from a licenced sponsor at the skill level of RQF3 or above;
- speak English at a required level; and
- be paid at least £25,600 or the ‘going rate’ for their job offer.
They can ‘trade points’, if they earn at least £20,480, on specific characteristics against their salary, such as if they have a job offer in a shortage occupation or have a PhD relevant to the job.
There are different salary rules for workers at the start of their careers and in some health or education jobs.
The Global Talent Route will open, designed to attract recognised global leaders and promising individuals in science, humanities, engineering, the arts and digital technology so top scientists and researchers can benefit from a quicker endorsement process as part of a fast track STEM scheme.
There are other work routes available such as the start-up and innovator visa, creative and sporting route, a health and care visa, the youth mobility scheme and pilot for seasonal workers.
What does this mean for employers?
This guidance means a whole new immigration system that employers need to be mindful of. This will impact on future recruitment plans for business and there will be new budgetary considerations now that EU skilled workers will need to be sponsored and subject to the same government fees, such as the immigration skills charges, health surcharges and visa processing fees, as migrant workers.
There will be some industries such as retail and accommodation/food whose workers will not meet the minimum salary thresholds, so the focus on upskilling graduates and British workers will be key. Similarly, sectors that currently rely heavily on EU workers will need to prepare themselves for sponsoring under the new system or re-planning their recruitment from 2021 altogether.
Finally, employers that already have a sponsor licence will automatically be granted a new “Skilled Worker” licence, whether they recruit in the tier 2 general or intracompany transfer categories.
From 1 January 2021 you’ll need to have a sponsor licence to hire most workers from outside the UK
Employers who do not have a licence, and think they will need one, need to apply for one now.
For assistance and advice with applying for a sponsor licence, speak to Tijen Ahmet in our business immigration team.
Our upcoming webinar on 8 October on Recruiting post-Brexit: understanding the UK’s new immigration systems’ will provide an overview of how the new system will shape future recruitment practices and offer practical solutions on what employers can do to prepare today - Sign up free today.
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