Whether a business is looking to employ foreign workers to fill “shortage occupation” vacancies, facilitate a transfer from an overseas branch of the organisation or to perform jobs that require a specific skillset not available in the UK, there are a myriad of issues you will encounter while recruiting from abroad.
It is important to understand the UK Border Agency’s (UKBA) immigration control requirements and the Home Office entry and employment restriction policies towards migrant workers coming from different countries, especially those from outwith the EU.
If your company wants to hire foreign employees, here are some key issues you need to consider.
Recruiting in the EEA?
This is a key consideration for businesses as the immigration requirements will vary, depending on where the applicant is from. European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals typically enjoy more relaxed immigration rules and they are free to enter and live in the UK without having to apply for permission.
However, bear in mind that workers from some EU countries, such as Bulgaria and Romania, are still subject to worker authorisation unless they are self-employed, married to a UK national or have worked in the UK for a minimum of one year.
Hiring from outwith the EU?
The process of recruiting non-EU nationals is usually more onerous and you should expect to have to jump through many more hoops than if you were to employ non-EU citizens.
There are five tiers of immigration categories:
Tier 1 – Highly skilled migrants
Tier 2 – Skilled workers
Tier 3 – Low-skilled workers
Tier 4 – Students
Tier 5 – Temporary or exchange workers
A business that wants to recruit from outside the EEA must apply for a sponsor licence from the UKBA, which they can use to sponsor the candidate, unless the applicant is a Tier 1 (highly skilled) migrant worker.
Tier 2 (skilled) workers need to earn at least £20,000 per annum to gain the points needed to be granted a visa. To recruit a skilled worker from outside the EU, a business must ensure that the position adheres to the UK Border Agency code of practice requirements. You also have to complete a resident labour market test and prove that you have not found a suitable settled candidate to meet the requirements.
Whether you are thinking of recruiting employees from the EU or outside the EEA, you should make sure you have a thorough understanding of UK immigration policies. With Home Office’s on-going attempts to curb immigration, businesses should keep a close eye on new immigration rules and be ready to respond to the constant changes in related legislation.
Ten Live has considerable expertise in overseas recruitment and can offer advice and assistance to businesses looking to add foreign talent to their team.
Photo courtesy of ToastyKen