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Life after Brexit - Employing Foreign Workers


We have all had enough of Brexit talk! However, there are some important steps you need to be taking now, particularly if you currently employ foreign workers, or intend to after 1st January 2020


Brexit will be upon us sooner rather than later and it is a good idea to start looking ahead and planning for the future, particularly when it comes to your staff. Our industry relies on a significant amount of over seas workers to keep businesses going.

The UK Government is now looking at bringing in a new system for employers to follow when recruiting workers from abroad.

As you continue reading hopefully this process will become clearer for a lot of employers looking at their own workers from abroad and how to best advise them and their families, as well as following the correct procedures when recruiting new staff from abroad in 2021.


On 31 December 2020, at 11:00 PM, freedom of movement between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) will end. In its place, the UK government’s planned points-based immigration system will come in to force. This will not differentiate between EU and non-EU nationals and is designed to attract people who can contribute to the UK’s economy.

EU citizens who arrive before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, and relevant family members

, will be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme. They have until 30 June 2021 to make an application under that scheme. They will be grated either Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status - which status is awarded depends on how long the applicant has been living in the UK at the time of the application.

The new guidance does not apply to Irish citizens. Irish citizens will continue to have the right to work in the UK after Brexit. They will also be able to prove their right to work as they do now - by using their passport, for instance.


If you currenly employ foreign workers,

they need to apply under the Settlement Scheme now!



A new immigration system will apply to people arriving in the UK from 1 January 2021 and EU citizens moving to the UK to work will need to get a visa in advance.

EU citizens applying for a skilled worker visa will need to show they have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor to be able to apply.

If you’re an employer planning to sponsor skilled migrants from 2021, and are not currently an approved sponsor, you should consider getting approved now.


New immigration routes will open later this year for applications to work, live and study in the UK from 1 January 2021.

Applicants be able to apply and pay for their visa online.


You’ll need to check a job applicant’s right to work in the same way as now until 30 June 2021.

Until this date job applicants can prove their right to work in the following ways:

  • EU, EEA or Swiss citizens can use their passport or national identity card

  • non-EU, EEA or Swiss citizen family members can use an immigration status document listed in the right to work checks employer guide.

  • EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members can use the online right to work checking service.

If an EEA national is living in the UK before 31st December 2020, they can apply for a settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme as covered above.


The points-based system will include a route for skilled workers who have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor.

From January 2021, the job you offer will need to be at a required skill level of RQF3 or above (equivalent to A level). Applicants will also need to be able to speak English and be paid the relevant salary threshold by the sponsor.

A sponsorship requirement will apply to Skilled Workers and Students.

  • The applicant must have an offer of a job from a licensed sponsor

  • The job must be at or above the minimum skill level: RQF3 level or equivalent (A level or equivalent qualification). Workers will not need to hold a formal qualification. It is the skill level of the job they will be doing which is important.

  • The applicant must speak English to an acceptable standard.

  • The applicant must be paid the relevant salary threshold by the sponsor. The general salary threshold of £25,600 or the going rate for the job, whichever is higher. If applicants earn less than this - but no less than £20,480 - they may still be able to apply by ‘trading’ points on specific characteristics against their salary.

  • A new graduate immigration route will be available to international students who have completed a degree in the UK from summer 2021. Graduates will be able to work, or look for work, in the UK at any skill level for up to 2 years, or 3 years if you are a PhD graduate.

If you need any help with any of this, please get in touch.


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