Seeking talent from outside the UK in 2021 – new rules apply

From 1st January 2021, the right to work for people from outside the United Kingdom and Ireland changed with a new points-based system which aims to treat EU and non-EU citizens equally.

Firstly, to recruit internationally, companies will need to register as a licensed sponsor to hire eligible people. Then under a points-based immigration system, anyone coming to the UK to work must meet certain criteria as set out below. A visa will then be awarded to prospective employees who gain enough points.

What about EU citizens already living or employed in the UK?

The new system will not apply to EU citizens currently living in the United Kingdom by 31st December 2020. Any employee who lives in the UK prior to 31st December will be required to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Employers will still be able to accept passports and EU national identity cards as evidence of an employee’s right to work until the 30th June 2021. Alternatively, some EU citizens may wish to use evidence of their right to work using digital status obtained from the Home Office. If your employee wishes to demonstrate their right to work using this service, they will need to provide their employer with a share code.

Employees and EU citizens eligible for the EU settlement scheme must apply by 30th June 2021.

How can my company become a sponsor? 

If a company wants to continue recruiting employees from the EU after 1st January 2020, they will need to register to become a sponsor.

 Before applying to become a sponsor, it is important to check that any prospective employees you want to recruit meet the requirements for coming to work in the UK, which include:

  • the employee earning at least £26,500 per annum
  • having a high level of English and a level of education equivalent of at least A Levels.

What do I need to do now? 

If your company anticipates a need to continue to recruit workers from outside of the UK, you should start the process of becoming a Sponsor now.

Have a plan in place for the possibility of not being able to recruit international candidates if your application to be a sponsor is not accepted.

Reassure your current workforce and current EU workers that they will continue to be able to work and live in the UK after 31st December 2020.

Do not discriminate against international workers by treating them any differently or less favourably than UK nationals.

Ensure that when carrying out your right to work checks for new employees that if a new EU passport holder joins, they are aware that they will have to register and prove they were residing in the UK before 1st January 2021.

More information regarding right to work and points based immigration can be found here or talk to Consilium Recruit about your hiring aims and search for the best manufacturing and engineering talent.

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James Charlett

6th January

Industry Insight