Planning for employing foreign workers in 2021

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If you employ foreign workers, or you plan to in the future, you will need to understand the changes triggered by the introduction of a points-based immigration system in the UK from 1 January 2021. The new regime will affect the way you transfer or recruit employees and workers from overseas and will apply also to EU workers who could previously freely work in the UK.

So, how can you prepare and plan for recruiting foreign workers from January 2021 effectively?

Will my current foreign employees be affected by the changes to the immigration system?

If you already employ foreign workers and they are from the EEA or Switzerland, they will not be affected by the changes. Such workers must be employed in your place of business by 31 December 2020. Family members of those employed before the cut-off date may apply to the EU Settlement Scheme up to 30 June 2021.

When do I need to apply for a sponsor licence?

If you need/want to employ foreign employees from the 1st January 2021 you will need to sponsor them. And in order to do this you will need to become a sponsor.

An increasing number of businesses are applying for sponsorship licences as the deadline approaches. Therefore, it is worth applying for a sponsor licence as soon as possible so that you can start the year ready to employ the workers you need to run your business. We can help to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

How do I apply for a sponsorship licence?

Before you start your sponsor licence application, you will need to check that your business is eligible to apply and determine the type of licence that you need to apply for. The type of licence you need will depend on the types of workers you wish to sponsor. You must also choose someone in the business who will be responsible for managing sponsorship. Once all those aspects have been dealt with, you can go ahead with the application and pay the required fee. If you are unsure about the process, you should seek advice and assistance from a specialist immigration lawyer.

What happens after I have made a sponsorship licence application?

After you have made an application, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) may visit your business premises to ensure that it is suitable for you to employ workers from outside the UK. If your application is successful, you will be given a licence rating. Should there be jobs in your business which meet the new requirements and are suitable for sponsoring overseas workers, you will be able to offer such employees certificates of sponsorship.

How long does a sponsorship licence last?

Your sponsorship licence will last four years. However, if you fail to meet your obligations as a sponsor, your licence may be revoked.

Please do not hesitate to contact us and to consult our blog for further updates.