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As we head towards the end of 2020 and the UK finally leaves the EU, this will also mean the end of free movement to the UK. The UK Government is introducing a new points-based immigration system which will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally. This change comes into effect on the 1st January 2021.

Immigration Guidelines

The main work route into the UK will be via the Skilled Worker route [GOV.UK: The UK’s points-based immigration system: an introduction for employers 19/11/2020] which includes some of the below:

  • Intra-Company Transfers (including Graduates Trainees)
  • International Students & Graduates (including Graduate Immigration Route)
  • Health and Care Visa (to apply for the Health and Care Visa, the individual must be a qualified doctor, nurse, health professional or adult social care professional. They need to have a job offer from the NHS (or equivalent body) and the employer must be a licensed sponsor.)

From 1st January 2021 the Skilled Worker route replaces the current T2 General Visa and some of the rules have been relaxed:

  • Required skill level is now A-level equivalent.
  • Reduced salary threshold.
  • Resident Labour Market test is scrapped.

Under the new points-based immigration system, anyone coming to the UK for work must meet a specific set of requirements for which they will score points. A total of 70 points are required, made up of mandatory points and some points which are tradeable. All applicants must:

  • be applying for a job ‘at appropriate skill level’,
  • speak English,
  • and have a job offer from an approved sponsor.

In addition, they must have a salary offer which is competitive for the job they are applying for.

A sponsorship requirement will apply to the Skilled Worker route, to the Health and Care Visa and to the student route, as well as to some specialised worker routes. This applies to both EU and non-EU citizens who come on these routes. Although specific requirements vary by route, for most work routes, sponsors must undergo checks to demonstrate they are a genuine business, are solvent, and that the roles they wish to recruit into are credible and meet the salary and skills requirements (if applicable). Sponsors must also pay a licence fee (and Immigration Skills Charge, where required.)

Right to Work (RTW)

Employers may continue with current RTW checks for EU citizens up to 30 June 2021, eg, a passport can still be accepted as the only RTW document up to this date. After this date, it will be necessary for the employee to show their settled status documentation/visa.

Irish citizens will continue to prove their right to work in the UK as they do currently.

All passports must be valid for at least 6 months.

Driving Post EU Exit

Employees who are required to drive for work may have to apply for an International Driving Permit (IDP).

Existing EU Citizens

EU citizens currently working the UK must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if they wish to continue working in the UK. The deadline is 30 June 2021. If, after the 30 June 2021 they have not applied for a visa then their continued employment will be unlawful.

The employee must take personal responsibility if the wish to continue working in the UK and, if they do not have settled status (or a visa) by the 30 June 2021 deadline, then their employment will be unlawful, and the employer will be fined if they continue working.

Required Actions for Employers & Case Managers

There are a number of actions required of the employer and/or case manager:

  • Review your existing workforce to identify who will be required to apply to the EU settlement scheme and if they wish to continue working in the UK.
  • The Employer cannot force an employee to apply.
  • It is reasonable for the Employer to have dialogue with the employee to enquire what their intentions are and to request that they keep the Employer informed of progress of their application under the settled status scheme (or their visa application).
  • The Employer will be required to take a copy of the employee’s new settled status documentation or visa and send a copy to the HR provider.

Immigration and EU Settlement HR Support

At Embrace HR we can assist with this process by providing the employer with a list of employees who, as per our records are currently EU citizens, in order that they may fulfil their obligations as set out above. We will record the information provided to us from the employer/employee.

Furthermore, if we do not receive the required evidence from the employer or the employee by 30 June 2021, we will contact the employer to inform them that the employee, according to our records, may be working unlawfully, and that employment may need to be terminated.

Employers and employees are welcome to contact Embrace HR Limited with any questions relating these new immigration rules.

T: 01296 761288 or contact us here.

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Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.