Freedom of movement with the EU has ended and the UK has introduced a points-based immigration system.
You now need to register as a licensed sponsor to hire most people living outside the UK and must check that they meet certain job, salary and language requirements.
This does not apply when hiring Irish citizens, or EU citizens already living in the UK by 31 December 2020. They and their family members are eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme and have until 30 June 2021 to make an application.
As a transition measure for the period up to 30 June 2021, employers should continue to accept the valid passports and national identity cards of all EU citizens as evidence of their right to work.
To assist UK businesses that are thinking of recruiting from outside the UK, the Home Office has published new products. These include:
Workforce and Labour Supply Handbook – The Home Office, in partnership with the Association of Labour Providers (ALP), have created this to help employers and providers of contingent labour understand the new immigration system and ensure compliance with right to work legislation for both existing workers and new recruits.
The Right to Work leaflet – which employers can share to clarify requirements to EU employees. This provides information for individuals on their rights and obligations depending on when they arrived in the UK.
Become a licensed visa sponsor
If you’re not already a licensed sponsor and you think you’ll want to sponsor workers, for instance, through the Skilled Worker route, you should apply now. Fees apply and you should allow around 8 weeks for your licence to be processed, however for an additional fee, businesses can be fast-tracked to receive a decision within 10 days.
Some immigration routes, such as Global Talent, are ‘unsponsored’. You don’t need a licence to hire employees with an unsponsored visa.
Further information on the points-based immigration system and the available routes is available in the employer immigration guide at GOV.UK.