How HR can prepare for changes to immigration post-Brexit

HR managers, is your company Brexit-ready?

As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, it’s important for UK companies employing EU workers to ensure they’re ready for the changes that will follow. Those responsible for recruitment should be aware of these changes and understand what they mean for both the company’s current EU employees and its future recruitment strategy. 

Some steps that can be taken to ensure a smooth transition for businesses and their employees include:

Keeping your current EU workers

Firstly, it’s important to ensure that any EU, EEA or Swiss nationals currently employed by your company can continue to stay in the UK after 30th June 2021 (if a deal is not agreed, the deadline will be 31st December 2020). The government’s EU Settlement Scheme gives these people the opportunity to apply to continue living in the UK following its exit from the European Union. Applicants who have been here for five years or more will receive ‘settled’ status, while those who have lived here for less than five years will get ‘pre-settled’ status.

The process is free, and the government has provided a step-by-step set of instructions on its website to guide applicants. HR officers should familiarise themselves with the process so that they can advise and support any of their company’s employees who need to apply. You can visit the site here.

Preparing to recruit from outside the EU

Once Brexit has taken place, the process of hiring workers from the EU will become more difficult. As a result, companies may choose to start recruiting people from further afield, although they will need to prepare for this shift in focus.

According to a recent survey, 76% of businesses have no contingency funds for future recruitment outside the EU. The cost, in terms of both money and time, of sponsorship licences and Tier 2 Visas means companies must determine whether they can afford to hire from abroad, as well as identify the resources necessary to carry out their recruitment plans.

What is a Tier 2 (General) Visa and why do workers need them?

Tier 2 (General) Visas are the most common type of visa. They apply to skilled workers earning £30,000 a year and upwards, and require sponsorship from the company offering employment. Proof of sponsorship comes in the form of a certificate of sponsorship (CoS).

Once Britain has left the EU, EU citizens without settled or pre-settled UK status may be subject to the same rules that apply to people from the rest of the world, meaning they will need to apply for a Tier 2 Visa if they intend to work in the UK.

How much does an overseas Tier 2 Visa application cost for a single applicant on a 3-year contract?

  • Application fee – £610
  • Immigration health charge – £1,200
  • Immigration skills charge (per year of contract) £1,092 to £3,000 (depending on whether your company is categorised as large or small)
  • Certificate of Sponsorship £199
  • Priority visa service £220

Due to the cost, complexity, and potential pitfalls of the visa application process, recruiters would be wise to work with an expert in the field. At UK Visas, our team guides companies through the hurdles of bringing staff into the UK, and facilitates the movement of employees globally.

Our experience allows us to assess eligibility quickly and to spot issues before they develop into problems, providing clients with practical and commercial solutions.

Our services include:

  • Advising on all aspects of the points-based system and assisting with the sponsor registration process
  • Work and business routes, including those for sponsored workers, business visitors, permitted paid engagement visitors, investors, entrepreneurs, high value migrants and representatives of overseas businesses
  • European applications such as family permits and permanent residence, and other applications including dependent family members and British nationality
  • Prevention of illegal working including audits of right to work documents, staff training, hotline services and objections to fines
  • Challenging decisions via administrative review

If you need help understanding how Brexit will affect your company’s EU nationals and overseas recruitment, our friendly and knowledgeable team is ready to answer your questions. Get in touch now to arrange a free consultation.

New charges for 2019-20

Having announced earlier in the year that our fees would remain unchanged for 2019, the additional work and time involved managing Tier 2 visa applications here in the UK has now become more onerous even than managing out-of-country applications – which we charged a higher figure for previously.

It is with reluctance therefore that we have had to amend our Tier 2 visa fees for in-country applications to match those for out-of-country applications, so all Tier 2 visas will, with effect from 1 June 2019, be charged at £1150 + VAT.

However, we have also decided to reduce our fee for dependants from £350 + VAT to £250 + VAT, so for a family of three the cost will remain the same as before.

And additionally, as all service options involve the same amount of work for us now, our fee of £1150 + VAT will apply whether clients opt for standard, priority or super priority service.

Changes at UK Visas

In recent months UK Visas has strengthened its team of OISC accredited advisers – Kevin Carlin achieved OISC accreditation in May 2017 and Garima Arora, who is qualified to the equivalent of OISCLevel 3, joined us in January, so we now have five OISC advisers on the team.

We have also settled in to our new offices close by Horsham station and this provides us with a larger and lighter environment in which to work.

One reason for these changes has been to enable one of our directors, and senior case worker, Sarah Bryant to significantly reduce her working hours. Garima has successfully taken over most of her workload now, although Sarah will be available to cover any particularly busy periods, sickness or holidays.

Kevin Carlin has been promoted to Client Services Manager and he will now oversee the incoming workload as well as take on responsibility for issuing CoS and sponsor licence admin support. With this last point in mind, and as mentioned in our newsletter last year, we will shortly be adding him as a Level 1 user on all clients’ SMS. AO’s will receive notification as and when Kevin is added on their SMS.

New Office Space in Horsham

It’s all change here at UK Visas this month as we move in to our new offices close to Horsham station and welcome Garima Arora who joins us as a senior caseworker on 2nd January 2018.

UK Visas new address is as follows:

Alphacom House
8A Oakhill Road
Horsham
RH13 5SB

Our telephone number remains the same: 01403 801801

Our existing office will also remain open until 31st January 2018 to receive courier/parcel deliveries and post.

Our new office is situated just 150 yards from Horsham station, which has direct and frequent train services to East Croydon (for the UKVIPublic Enquiry Office), Gatwick and London (Victoria and London Bridge).

Garima Arora joins us on 2nd January 2018, having just qualified as a solicitor this month. Garima has been working as a Level 2 IAASCaseworker for over two years which is equivalent to OISC Level 3, so has extensive knowledge and experience working in immigration which will further broaden our scope and client offering.

I am sure you will share with me in welcoming her to UK Visas and no doubt she will be speaking to many of you very soon!

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UK VISAS NO WIN NO FEE PROMISE

We provide a ‘No Win – No Fee’ guarantee for all points-based system visa applications unless expressly stated at the time of appointment. We will guarantee our service for these applications by offering a full refund on our fee should it be unsuccessful.

These guaranteed terms are conditional upon the client being able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Home Office that they have earned the income claimed or that they have the necessary funding in place for maintenance or are fully conversant with their business plan in the case of Tier 1 Entrepreneurs.

It also presumes that neither the applicant nor their dependants have previously come under scrutiny or been under investigation by the Home Office for any immigration matter. In order that we can do our job properly the necessary information and details required should be made available and they must genuine as well as accurate.