Hiring EU Workers without a UK work visa
Does your business need to hire workers? With the UK skills shortage would you normally hire from overseas? If your workers, whether they are joining a UK construction, tech or digital firm or other industry sector, are from the EU then the Immigration rules have changed. If your business is still getting to grips with the Immigration rule changes it isn’t surprising as this year has been very tough with the global pandemic and the financial fall-out of lockdowns and the COVID-19 tier system. In this article our immigration solicitors guide you on the essentials of hiring EU workers.
UK Immigration solicitors
If you have questions about hiring EU workers , the EU Settlement Scheme, available UK work visa options and applying for a sponsor licence the friendly specialist immigration team at London based OTS Solicitors can help you. Call OTS Solicitors on [telephone telephone] or contact us online. Appointments can be arranged via video call, Skype or telephone.
Does your EU worker have settled status or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme?
If your EU job applicant has either settled status or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme then they won’t be subject to Immigration control and won’t need a work visa to work in the UK. Just as importantly you won’t need a Home Office issued sponsor licence to employ them. However, as with every new employee, you will need to carry out right to work checks before they can commence their Employment with your business.
To be able to apply for pre-settled status or settled status your EU job applicant will need to have been living in the UK before 11 pm on the 31 December 2020 and meet the EU Settlement Scheme eligibility criteria. That December 2020 date is important as it is the date that free movement ended for EU nationals in the UK.
If you employ a worker from the EU with pre-settled status or settled status then you know that they have the right to continue to live and work in the UK on an indefinite basis free of visa restrictions.
Can I hire an EU worker who doesn’t have pre-settled status or settled status and who doesn’t have a work visa to work in the UK?
Your business may be able to hire an EU worker who doesn’t have pre-settled status or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme and who also doesn’t have a work visa to work in the UK. That is because provided the EU national came to live in the UK before the 31 December 2020 they have until the cut-off date of the 30 June 2021 to apply for settled status.
If your business employs an EU worker who meets the eligibility criteria for settled status or pre-settled status but they haven’t applied for settled status and they don’t make a pre-settled status or settled status application before the deadline of the 30 June 2021 then:
- Your business will need to carry out an additional right to work check as the EU worker only had the right to work in the UK until the 30 June 2021
- To continue to work in the UK after the 30 June 2021 the employee will need to apply for a visa, such as the skilled worker visa
- To employ the EU national on a work visa your business will need to hold a Home Office issued sponsor licence, allocate a certificate of sponsorship to the EU national worker and then comply with your Sponsor Licence recording and reporting duties. You will also need to carry out ongoing right to work checks as the employee will only have the right to work in the UK for the duration of their work visa.
To avoid the complexities of having to apply for a Home Office Sponsor Licence and to allocate a certificate of sponsorship to an existing employer who is an EU national it is best that the worker applies for pre-settled status or settled status before the deadline. Some employers are making it easier for their existing EU national employees to apply for settled status by arranging settled status clinics at their work premises or ensuring that their workers understand the significance of the 30 June 2021 date.
If your business has any questions about whether an EU worker has the right to work in the UK then its best to get specialist immigration legal advice to make sure that your business isn’t in breach of:
In addition, it is in your business’s best interests to help your employees with their settled status as:
- It is cheaper to employ a worker who doesn’t need a work visa to work in the UK as your business doesn’t then need a Sponsor Licence to employ them or to spend money on the sponsor licence application or renewal fee
- Your business won’t need to pay for a certificate of sponsorship to sponsor the EU worker and won’t need to pay the Immigration skills charge
- There should be less red tape and HR resources needed to employ an overseas worker with settled status as you won’t need to comply with Sponsor Licence reporting and recording duties
- Once your EU worker has settled status you won’t need to need to renew their right to work checks as they will have an indefinite right to live and work in the UK
- Helping an employee with settled status and providing other staff loyalty packages, such as increased holiday provision for long service, may encourage your employees to remain working for your business thus reducing your recruitment concerns at a time when you won’t easily be able to replace your existing EU workforce with alternative EU workers because of the end of free movement and the requirement for EU workers coming to the UK after the 31 December 2020 to have a skilled worker visa or other work or business visa.
The reality is that despite encouraging existing EU workers to apply for settled status, many UK business owners will need to recruit EU workers on skilled worker visas. That’s because if existing EU workers leave your Employment the likelihood is that you won’t be able to recruit to replace them with UK settled workers, because of the UK skills shortage, and won't be able to recruit existing EU workers with pre-settled status or settled status to join your business as they are in high demand. If you conclude that hiring EU workers without a visa is only going to be a temporary solution to your recruitment needs then specialist sponsor licence and immigration solicitors can help you secure your first sponsor licence application so that you recruit skilled overseas workers, including EU nationals, on skilled worker visas.
UK Immigration solicitors
The friendly specialist immigration solicitors can answer your settled status, Sponsor Licence or skilled worker visa questions and ensure that your application is processed as efficiently and quickly. For UK employer Immigration advice on hiring EU employees call OTS Solicitors on [telephone telephone] or complete our online enquiry form. Appointments are available through video conference, Skype or by telephone appointment.