Is your business licensed for overseas workers?
From January 2021 when the new points-based immigration system comes into force here in the UK, it is estimated that only 2% (31,000 out of 1.4 million private sector businesses) will currently be able to employ overseas workers. To be allowed to employ overseas workers businesses need to be on the Government’s register of licensed sponsors.
What does this mean in practice?
Under the new rules businesses will need to have a sponsor licence which are issued by the Home Office, to enable them to recruit from either the EU or non-EU citizens who will all in the future be treated the same for immigration purposes.
There will naturally be concerns that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses may not be in a position to prepare in time and may miss out on the ability to recruit from January 2021. Applications to become a licensed sponsor typically take three months to process but this is anticipated to take much longer due to the backlog caused by the shutdown.
The cost of a licence is currently £536 for a small company or £1,476 for a medium to large organisation and these last for four years. Organisations also need to pay an up-front fee of £7,500 to hire an overseas worker.
Amanda Finn comments: “Due to the disruption of Covid-19, Brexit planning has taken a back seat within some businesses but with less than six months to the end of the transition period it is important for businesses to also turn their attention to their future staffing requirements, especially if they usually rely on overseas workers. Businesses should also engage with their existing employees to make sure they have registered to remain in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme.”