How would you hire from outside the UK in 2021?

The right of people to travel between the UK and EU countries ended on January 1, 2021, and the UK implemented a new immigration system that treats all applicants fairly, regardless of where they come from (except Irish citizens who are exempt from immigration rules, due to the pre-existing Common Travel Area arrangements). When the Brexit transition period ended on January 1, 2021, employers' hiring practices changed.

There is now a scheme of immigration dependent on points. That is to say:

  • Most staff and personnel from outside the UK will need a sponsor licence;
  • Anyone you hire from outside the UK must follow those criteria.

If you want to hire someone from outside the UK, you can prepare ahead of time. It could take a little longer than normal.

Submit an application for a sponsor licence.
You must determine whether you need a sponsor licence and which form of sponsor licence to apply for.

You do not need a licence to sponsor people in those groups, such as:
  • Irish nationals;
  • someone with settled or pre-settled EU Settlement Scheme status anyone with indefinite leave to stay in the UK.

The type of sponsor licence you need depends on a variety of factors, like whether you want to recruit someone on a temporary or long-term basis.

Each individual you want to employ will require a separate sponsor licence.

Verify that they have the legal right to operate in the UK.
There are no application fees for EEA nationals to apply for this status right now. This is valid for five years but will expire if the person is not present in the UK for two years in a row.

During pre-settled status, there are no limitations on work or research.
This status can be a choice for individuals who do not fit into any other immigration category and who already spend substantial periods of time in the UK (for work purposes, for example), but do not live in the UK and may need to spend equivalent amounts of time in the UK in the future. 

When you give anyone a job, you must request evidence that they are legally permitted to work in the UK.

If you do not check this, you could face a fine of up to £20,000.
If you already have EU, EEA, or Swiss people on your payroll
EU, EEA, and Swiss people have until June 30, 2021, to register for the EU Settlement Scheme if they began residing in the UK on or before December 31, 2020.

The EEA comprises all EU member states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.

Irish residents are exempt from applying for the EU Settlement Scheme.

How much do visas and the immigration health fee cost?
A Tier 2 Skilled worker visa for a small sponsor business would start at £1,800 for a 12-month visa. The new immigration legislation for health costs £624 per year of visa effective October 27, 2020.

Skilled workers who apply for a Health & Care visa under Tier 2 in qualifying health occupations with a job offer from the NHS, social care sector, or employers and organisations that provide services to the NHS will be eligible for the following benefits:

  • fast-track admission;
  • lower application fees;
  • application-specific assistance;
  • a waiver of the immigration health surcharge.

You are a Frontier Worker if you are an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen who is working or self-employed in the UK but is not primarily resident in the UK. ‘Not primarily resident' means that you have been in the UK for fewer than 180 days in the 12 months preceding your application for frontier worker status, or that you have visited your home country at least once in the last six months, or twice in the last year (unless there are exceptional reasons). For accounting and business advice, please contact Persona Finance [].