UK Businesses: HR Brexit Advice for Employers of Key EEA workers

BREXIT has created a great deal of uncertainty as to future UK immigration policies, and it is crucial for UK employers to begin devising a proactive Human Resources strategy.  Being prepared will avoid the rush of applications likely upon BREXIT and will ensure the continued ability of businesses to employ key EEA workers (who will become foreign skilled workers, upon BREXIT).

HR departments need to be proactive as regards their Key EEA Workers

Since the referendum in June, there had been a cloud of uncertainty surrounding immigration negotiations between the UK and the EU. Early this month, Prime Minister Theresa May pledged that the formal Brexit procedure will be triggered, by way of Article 50, by April 2017. Earlier this week, she also introduced a ‘targeted visa system’ alongside with the continued regime of reducing net migration and clamping down on illegal working. With immense changes coming to the UK’s way, it will be crucial for UK business owners to keep closely to immigration changes. As the changes are announced, it will be likely that there will be a mass of application in compliance with new rules. HR departments of UK businesses will be demanded to act rapidly to beat the application backlog that could develop. Our firm provides a few useful tips for UK businesses and employers to take reference.

Brexit Key Worker HR Strategy for UK Businesses & Employers

  1. Identify all employees that are European Economic Area (EAA) nationals
  2. Identify all employees that derive their right to work in the UK based on an EEA family member’s status as an EEA national
  3. Determine which employees are key workers for the business
  4. Consider supporting key workers by funding or part-funding their applications for Permanent Residence or British nationality
  5. Consider obtaining a Sponsorship Licence for the business or if such a licence already in place ensure compliance with the licence conditions

Who is an EEA National?

EEA nationals are citizens of one of the following countries (those who have permanent residence in the EEA but not citizenship are not EEA nationals):

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are not part of the EU but are EEA member states. Switzerland is neither EU nor EEA but current UK EEA regulations extend free movement rights to all EEA and Swiss nationals.

Cost of UKVI Application for Residence or Nationality

Home Office fees in respect of Permanent Residence applications are just £65, which is significantly less, in comparison to the Indefinite Leave to Remain (Settlement) application of £1875 and the Naturalisation application fee of £1236. Key workers should be directed to skilled immigration solicitors, who are experienced and sensitive to immigration rules changes, to ensure that a carefully considered and prepared application can be submitted. This includes a meticulously prepared bundle of supporting documents and detailed legal representation. Such high quality representation will ensure that key worker applications to the Home Office are not refused or delayed or causing inconvenience to the key worker and the business.

UK Business Sponsor Licence

We expect that a Sponsor Licence system will continue to be in place to regulate foreign highly skilled workers. With increasing enquiries in relation to Sponsor Licence applications, below is a brief guide on what aspects to consider when preparing an application for a Sponsor Licence.

  1. Is your business eligible?
  2. Which type of licence you wish to apply for, in accordance with the type of worker you wish to sponsor?
  3. Will you be able to appoint an authorising officer to be responsible for managing all sponsored migrants within your business?

When submitting a Sponsor Licence application, you will need to provide supporting documents to show that your business has appropriate resources in place to maintain sponsored migrants and continue to carry out your sponsorship duties. Sponsorship compliance and duties are ongoing and your business will be responsible to ensure that at any point of time, no illegal workers are being employed.

With regards to the type of licence, you may apply for either a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence or a Tier 5 Sponsor Licence. Tier 2 licences are for sponsoring skilled workers with long term job offers, whereas Tier 5 licences are for sponsoring skilled temporary workers. For either category, there are strict regulations in place to ensure that suitable jobs are assigned to skilled migrants on a suitable rate of pay. Furthermore, businesses will need to satisfy advertising requirements to meet the demands of the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) before assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to a potential employee.

When your application is approved, you will be listed on the Register of Sponsors, and will receive initially an A-rated licence. A downgrade to a B-rated licence can cause significant obstacles to your business and it will financially burden your business in attempt to upgrade the licence.

Successful Permanent Residence or Naturalisation Applications and Successful UK Business Sponsor Licence Applications Ensuring Ongoing Compliance

Our team of experienced and professionally qualified solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through these procedures step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of the law. Please always call us for a telephone case assessment even if you wish to consider other advisers.

Sponsor Licence applications can be complicated at times as the Home Office have imposed highly specific requirements for applicants to meet. Our expert immigration solicitors will provide you with a tailored service and are on hand to expedite the Sponsor Licence process. We ensure that we assist you to achieve and maintain an A-rated Sponsor status and provide ongoing compliance checks to ensure you are aware of your duties as a registered Sponsor.

Our team of experienced and professionally qualified solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through your UK Sponsorship Licence application process step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of the law. Please always call us for a telephone case assessment even if you wish to consider other advisers. Our Immigration Experts are able to give specialist legal information and advice in this area of law. To contact one of our Immigration Solicitors or Immigration Barristers please complete our legal case assessment form and we will get in touch or call us now at 02071830570 for a telephone case assessment.

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