Employment of Overseas Workers and Business Immigration Tips For HR Executives banner


Employment of Overseas Workers and Business Immigration Tips For HR Executives

  • Posted on

Employment and immigration solicitors know that the job of a HR director or executive isn’t easy in 2021. What with coping with the health and safety issues flowing from working from home, hybrid working models and claims of discrimination and managing the return to the office or business premises. That is just dealing with COVID-19. Many company directors seem to have forgotten that HR personnel are also managing recruitment and retention of workers in the post Brexit world with all the complexities of the end of free movement for EU nationals, the closure of the EU Settlement Scheme and the introduction of the UK points-based immigration system. That’s enough for anyone to cope with. In this article head of OTS Solicitors business immigration team , Hans Sok Appadu , looks at HR business immigration tips for busy HR professionals.

UK Online and London Based Employment and Business Immigration Solicitors 

For advice on any aspect of employment or  immigration law call the expert London lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

 Look ahead

It may seem obvious but it is vital to look ahead to assess the opportunities and potential pitfalls and traps for your business. If you are aware that a team is departing and will need to be replaced or the firm is expanding its product offering or moving to larger business premises there are recruitment issues that flow from those business decisions. For example:

  • If your business doesn’t already have a Home Office issued sponsor licence, does it need one to recruit workers to replace departing employees or to meet company expansion plans? If a sponsor licence is needed, are you ready to apply for the sponsor licence or do you need to put suitable policies and procedures into place? Are you ready to apply for a sponsor licence now to avoid delays in recruiting skilled migrant workers from overseas?
  • Is your existing sponsor licence due for renewal? Are you on top of the sponsor licence renewal application process?
  • Do you know how many of your current employees are EU nationals who either have pre-settled status or settled statusunder the EU Settlement Scheme? Do you know how many EU nationals are working for the business who haven’t applied for settled status either because they don’t meet the eligibility criteria or have missed the deadline? Are those EU national employees in key roles? Would you be able to recruit replacement workers from within the UK or, with the end of free movement for EU nationals , will you need a sponsor licence to do so? Are you prepared to pay the Home Office a premium service fee if you need to secure a sponsor licence quickly as you haven’t got a licence in place?
  • Are the jobs that you are likely to be recruiting to fill suitable for job applicants who require a UK work visa? Are the jobs on the standard occupation code or shortage occupation list? Will the skilled worker visa minimum salary threshold significantly increases wages and how can those increased overheads be met by the business?
  • Is a training programme for apprentice workers an option to help meet the UK skills gap? Given the timescales to train a skilled worker do you still need a sponsor licence to recruit skilled migrant workers to meet recruitment needs in the next twelve months?
  • If the business already has a sponsor licence is your sponsor licence management up to date? If it isn’t because of COVID-19 related work, and the reality is that HR staff are busier than ever with health and safety issues relating to the staff returning to the office, then a professional sponsor licence management service may be the answer to enable your HR staff to more effectively fire fight all the employment and HR issues that are having to be dealt with because of changing working practices.

Think outside the box

Sometimes creative thinking is the key to successful HR strategy. For example:

  • If you have workers who are from the EU, an EEA country or Switzerland and they were living in the UK before the 31 December 2020 then they should be eligible for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Many of those who meet the eligibility criteria have failed to apply and that means ultimately that they will either need to leave the UK or apply for a visa. If they need a work visa then your company will need a sponsor licence to sponsor them and the company will need to meet the costs of employing a skilled migrant worker, such as payment of the immigration skills charge. Although the cut-off date for applications under the EU Settlement Scheme was the 30 June 2021, late applications are still being accepted if an applicant has a reasonable excuse for a delayed application. That is why some employers are still urging those who meet the eligibility criteria for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme to apply as it is in the best interests of employer and employee. The list of reasonable grounds for a delayed application isn’t exhaustive but the Home Office has said that, for an initial period, most late applications will be accepted if a settled status applicant says they weren’t aware of the requirement to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme to be able to continue to live and work in the UK free of immigration control.
  • If your company has vacancies that it can't fill with UK citizens or settled workers then is the recruitment of overseas workers on graduate visas an option for your company? With a graduate visa the job applicant does not need a sponsoring employer and the job does not need to be of a minimum skill level or to meet a minimum salary threshold. However, international students who have graduated from UK universities and who are eligible for the graduate visa are not likely to have the skills or experience you may require for some job vacancies.
  • Check if job vacancies can be filled through the frontier work permit. That may be possible depending on the location of your premises or the nature of the job. Some management and research roles lend themselves to a combination of remote working and attendance at the office and so it is possible to successfully do the job whilst based overseas through use of the frontier work permit scheme.
  • If your company is an international business and the company has workers based overseas who can do the jobs you need then, provided the job is fairly senior in nature because of the minimum salary threshold, the intra company transfer visamay be the solution as it enables the business to transfer existing overseas based employees to the UK to work.

One thing that the global pandemic has taught us is that nothing is certain and that is certainly correct when it comes to HR practices where the need to be both flexible and adaptable and to plan ahead has never been more important.

UK Online and London Based Employment and Business Immigration Solicitors 

For advice on any aspect of employment or immigration law call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

    Get in touch

    Please fill in the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.