Guidance for employers of EU staff

Last week the Government scrapped its plan to charge EU citizens a fee of £65 to secure the right to continue living in the UK. The EU Settlement Scheme is currently in a test phase and the charge of £65 applies - however this will be scrapped when the Scheme is rolled out in full. Any early birds who have already paid the fee will be able to claim a refund. 

Points Based System in Practice

We've recently brought you information on the Points Based System for skilled workers that will come into place for immigration from January.

For employers, it's important to know that you'll need to pay an Immigration Skills Charge (ISC), if you employ a skilled migrant worker from either the EU or the rest of the world. The ISC is £1,000 per skilled worker for the first 12 months, with an additional £500 charge for each subsequent six-month period. Discounted rates will apply to charities and small business.

People applying to come to work in the UK must meet a specific set of requirements, with each requirement awarding a certain number of points. 70 points in total must be reached.

Some requirements are mandatory. These include the offer of a job from a sponsor (20 points) a job offer at an appropriate skill level (20 points) and being able to speak some English (10 points). The job offer must meet the applicable minimum salary threshold. This is the higher of either the general salary threshold of £25,600, or

the specific salary requirement for their occupation, known as the 'going rate'.

The other 20 points can be made up in a variety of ways, including:

  • Qualifications
  • If the job is in a shortage occupation
  • If the applicant is a new entrant
  • If they're applying for specific health or education jobs.

Imagining how this might work for a prospective employee is helped by some case studies published by the Home Office. For example:

Mechanical engineer with a STEM PhD coming to the UK with salary offer of £21,000. The general salary threshold (£25,600) applies. No points are awarded for salary as £21,000 is below the threshold. However, the applicant still qualifies:

Job offer = 20

RQF 3 or above = 20 points

English language = 10 points

Education qualification (STEM PhD) = 20 points

Total: 70 points

EU Settlement Scheme Update

For those EU citizens already living and working in the UK, the Settlement Scheme remains open for just under a year. More than 3.6 million applications have been made and over 3.3 million people have been granted status.

The latest detailed official statistics show that the highest number of applications have so far come from Polish (697,900), Romanian (590,100) and Italian (363,600) nationals with more than 3.2 million applications coming from EEA citizens living in England, 180,700 from Scotland, 59,400 from Wales and 59,700 from Northern Ireland.

Any EU staff not yet signed up should be encouraged to do so as soon as possible. There is a Government Toolkit you can use to help communicate with staff. 

New immigration system

Mid month saw the release of new information from the Home Office about the planned Points Based System. The new system comes into effect on 1 January 2021 when free movement with the EU ends.

There are five key new pieces of information in the publication:

  1. The government intends to relax the rules around 'switching'  - this will enable visa holders to switch between visa types whilst in the UK
  2. Firms will continue to be able to complete right-to-work checks digitally and applicants will be able to access their immigration status information via an online service - a helpful modernisation of the process
  3. The government has confirmed that it intends to expand the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme. The YMS provides a route for young people (18-30) to come and work in the UK for up to two years. YMS agreements are bilateral so depend on the outcome of negotiations with other countries. The UK already has YMS agreements with Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea and Taiwan.
  4. The government has also announced the reintroduction of the post-study work visa for international graduates. This enables graduates to remain in the UK for two years after the end of their course, or three years if they completed a PhD.
  5. The Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa route will be retained and the cooling-off period will be simplified. This is a positive step that could reduce costs for firms.

For more detail, check here.

You might also be interested in:
  • Brexit Transition - Important info Please click here for the Brexit Transition Checklist.
  • Brexit Bulletins Catch up with all our Brexit Bulletins so far.
  • Funding Importers/exporters who will need to complete customs declarations can apply for funding for training.
  • Online Resources Everyone's talking about Brexit. We've pulled together some of the more interesting publications out there.
  • Managing currency risk With a weaker currency making imports more expensive, you've voiced concerns about rising costs - so we've put together some tips to consider.
  • Importing and Exporting All the latest information on tariffs and non-tariff barriers - if you import or export you'll find helpful resources here.
  • Running your Business Your customers may be checking their supply chains and some of you report back that you're also putting in the ground work to ensure continuity of service.
  • Northern Ireland Based in Northern Ireland, find more information here.
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