Hiring foreign talent – what do you need to know?
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Following Brexit, there have been considerable changes in the immigration system. Statista outlined that there are approximately 1.1 million job vacancies in the UK. We discuss what you need to do to employ staff from abroad.
While the UK has a long history of welcoming foreign workers, the current system can be seen as overly bureaucratic and restrictive, creating challenges for businesses and individuals seeking to work in the UK. The UK currently has messaging that is a barrier to attracting foreign talent.
One of the main issues with the current immigration system is the reliance on the points-based system, which can be difficult to navigate and does not always reflect the skills and experience of potential foreign workers. The system places a heavy emphasis on qualifications and education, which can disadvantage workers who may have valuable skills and experience but lack formal qualifications.
Here we look at what you need to know when employing from abroad.
How to hire from abroad?
Hiring employees from outside the UK can be complex. It requires careful planning and execution. There are several steps you need to take to make it a smooth process. Here are the steps to hire someone from abroad:
- Advertise the job: Once you have a sponsor licence, you must advertise the job vacancy in the UK for at least 28 days to give UK residents the opportunity to apply. Make sure that the job advert meets the Home Office requirements, our team can assist.
- Apply for a sponsor licence: If you wish to hire a non-UK resident, your company must apply for a sponsor licence from the Home Office. We have outlined a process to apply for a licence.
- Determine eligibility: Determine if the individual is eligible to work in the UK. You can check the UK government website or ask our immigration team for the latest information on the eligibility requirements. Remember requirements change frequently and the new points-based system was introduced and amended following Brexit.
- Conduct a resident labour market test: After advertising the job vacancy, you must conduct a resident labour market test. This test ensures that there are no suitable UK or EEA resident workers available to fill the role. You must keep records of this test.
- Visa application: Your potential employee will then need to apply for a visa. This should be accompanied by the relevant evidence and their CoS reference number. They may also need to provide biometric information, such as fingerprints and photographs, and attend an interview.
- Welcome the new employee: Once the individual has been granted a visa, you can welcome them to your company and help them settle into their new role.
- Issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS): If the resident labour market test shows that there are no suitable UK or EEA resident workers available to fill the role, you can issue a CoS to the non-UK resident.
Applying for sponsorship licence
A company that wants to hire workers from outside the UK must apply for a visa sponsor licence from the Home Office. This licence allows the company to sponsor and employ non-UK workers who hold a valid visa.
Here are the steps a company can follow to apply for a visa sponsor licence:
- Check eligibility: The first step is to check that your company is eligible. Your company must have a legitimate business presence in the UK and must meet all the other Home Office requirements.
- Choose the type of licence: You must choose the type of licence based on your needs, either for skilled workers or temporary workers.
- Identify key personnel: You must identify the responsible person within your business for managing the application and the person who will be the authorising officer responsible for issuing CoS to future employees. You may need to pay an additional fee, known as the immigration skills charge, when assigning a certificate to a skilled worker or senior or specialist worker (under Global Business Mobility) visas.
- Gather necessary documents: The company must gather all the necessary documents such as financial statements, tax returns, business plans and evidence of appropriate HR systems and processes to demonstrate compliance with UK immigration rules.
- Complete the application form: The company must complete the online application form and pay the relevant fee. You will be asked to detail the size of your company, sector, any registration details and the expected number of CoS you will need.
- Await decision: The Home Office assesses the application and decide whether to grant the licence.
If the visa sponsor licence application is successful, you are granted a licence which enables you to sponsor and employ non-UK workers who hold a valid visa.
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