Brexit – less than 100 days to the end of free movement of EU workers in the UK
From 1 January 2021, freedom of movement between the UK and EU will end and the UK will introduce a new immigration system.
The key points for employers:
- EU nationals currently in the UK or arriving in the UK before 1st Jan 2021 can still apply under the government’s simplified EU Settlement Scheme. You should continue to encourage your current EU workforce to apply under this scheme.
- Once free movement ends the same visa rules will apply to both EU and non-EU citizens. If you wish to sponsor the visas of EU or Non-EU nationals after 1st January 2021 you will need to apply for a Sponsor Licence from the UK Home Office. Please see our FAQ article on applying for a Sponsor Licence.
- Employers need to budget for the costs associated with visa applications and the lead in times for preparation and processing of a visa under the new immigration system. The Government’s total visa fees can range from £3,000 – £5,000 and can take between 1-3 months to process. Contrast this to when an employer simply took a photocopy of an EU passport on the first day of work to satisfy right to work checks!
- Irish citizens are excluded and can continue to work in the UK visa free.
The Government will publish more details about the new system in the coming months and we will keep you up to date. If you have any questions or do not already hold a Sponsor Licence please contact our Head of Immigration, Stephen Hall who can discuss and help you with the process or complete our online sponsor licence application form.
Stephen has over 10 years’ experience assisting businesses apply for Sponsor Licences and can discuss a tailored plan of action with fixed fees to guide you through the entire licence process.