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The Post-Brexit Recruitment Checklist

The Brexit transition period ended on 31 December 2020, and with it the free movement of EU nationals. This means that EU nationals seeking to enter the UK for work or business purposes are now subject to the UK’s visa regime (in the same way as non-EU nationals have been historically). This will have immediate and important implications for your business.

You will need to be aware of how these changes will impact your ability to recruit new employees, particularly EU nationals. You will need to have a clear understanding of when a visa is required and the associated eligibility requirements. This means that if you do not already have one, you may need to urgently apply for a sponsor licence if you wish to hire EU nationals.

These changes will also impact business travel to the UK. You will need to understand which individuals are allowed to enter the UK for business purposes and whether they need a work permit to do so.

For EU nationals who were resident in the UK before the end of the transition period, the deadline for making an application under the EU Settlement Scheme is 30 June 2021. If individuals miss the deadline, they will no longer have the right to live and work in the UK.

As an employer, you will need to understand how these changes impact both new and existing staff and your right to work checks to prevent illegal working. It is imperative that you put a plan in place to deal with this now or you may risk facing legal and financial consequences later.

Non-compliance with these requirements is a serious issue. If one of your employees is working illegally, you could face a fine of up to £20,000 per illegal worker. In some cases illegal working attracts criminal liability, which carries with it an unlimited fine and up to five years in prison.

Other consequences could include having your sponsor license revoked. This will mean that you will no longer be able to access the work permit system and any existing sponsored migrants will typically be given 60 days to leave the country or find another sponsor. You may also face adverse publicity, which could bring catastrophic implications due to reputational damage.

It is vital that you begin preparing now. Although it is sometimes possible to expedite matters, sponsor licence applications can take upwards of two months for the Home Office to approve and visa applications can take in the region of a month. To help you navigate these changes, Brabners has prepared a checklist of the key questions you need to address right now. You can download this list here.

If you have any specific concerns around these changes, they would be happy to support. Please get in touch with a member of our Business Immigration Team to discuss.