Blog: Post Brexit Immigration with Fragomen

By KRaynes

Blog: Post Brexit Immigration Event with Fragomen

HR in Hospitality event blog, 11 November 2020,

Esther O’Halloran, Chair

UK Immigration in a Post Brexit  world

The question Ian Robinson, Senior Partner at Fragomen helped us answer with less than 2 months to go is “Are we ready for a Post Brexit world?”

What should your priorities be? #1 support your current employees: speak to all your EU workers who are already here before the start of 2021, remind them of the easy application system that has been set up to scan their passport using an App. Deadline is end of June next year and if they do not have settled status by then they will be regarded as a hostile and considered to be in UK illegally. Irish nationals are exempt and do not need to make an application for settled status.

What will the next immigration system be from 2021? Simpler system:  There will be a single new system here for all migration which also means a  simpler system for non EU nationals. EU workers that are here before 2021 can stay with 30 June 2021 deadline for obtaining settled status applying.

Will you need a UK Sponsor licence? Most likely: Free movement ends 01 January 2021 so you will need to be a sponsor if you are going to be sponsoring workers from outside of the UK. You can get this from the Home Office (there is guidance on their website https://www.gov.uk/uk-visa-sponsorship-employers ) however, you will be expected to police this. You may need to sponsor people in the future, if not immediately, so it is recommended that you apply for the sponsor licence sooner as it takes time to be processed.

Sponsored visa routes,  if you need an overseas worker: Skilled worker category will be measured on a Test points based system and there is no longer a labour market test where you have to advertise and wait for 4 weeks. There is however a degree level requirement (in future this will include A levels etc) and there is a need to speak English, these are all tested alongside a minimum salary £25,600 (£20,400 if it is a sought after skill) but salaries are not the end of the story. The Intra-Company Transfer category will be useful for moving from one entity to another in the UK where the company is linked to another entity in the EU, so ICT can work for you (these are in effect temporary assignments).

Will the costs be high? Potentially between salary and visas yes: You could be looking at around £5500 in government fees for average size organisations but even if you are an SME it can be as high as £4500, and this is just for one single person. However, if someone comes over for 5 years with their family then the costs can rise to around £29,570. The worker is also liable for some of these fees but many employers will cover these costs. The costs can be high.

Graduates: carefully consider arrangements for graduates: this may be harder given where the market is currently with so few jobs for graduates, but you do have options. They can be moved to skilled worker category or if you have overseas entities they can enter as an inter-company transfer. From next summer there will be a graduate visa category (previously this was a post study work visa).

 

Any changes to Right to Work checks? Yes there will be an extra level: Until the end of this year nothing changes however from 01 July 2021 any EU worker you take on you will need to take a copy of their European passport and you will need to see their permission to work in the UK. As part of your due diligence you will need to keep a record of both in the usual way.

Have you a plan to prepare for this? If the answer is no then consider these points…

  1. Apply early for a sponsorship licence from the Home Office
  2. Review your current policies to ensure they support the new system
  3. One of your policy decisions you will need to make is how much are you going to pay in terms of salaries! Bar staff, housekeeping etc are low level jobs and will not qualify, Chefs, Bar Managers etc will qualify so an action could be to review all your salary levels and bandings to see if any are above the minimum qualifying level.
  4. Look at the bits of your business where you are reliant on EU or oversees workers and review if they would qualify or if you can afford them going forward
  5. Are you going to be able to easily recruit from overseas in future, if not where will you find people to do the jobs you need?
  6. Think about whether you will cover the cost of the visa and the health care charges for each worker as all this money adds up. So you will need to budget. Also will you cover the cost of the Right to emain in 5 years’ time (currently it is around £2500 this is likely to go up).
  7. Map out your workforce planning needs for the next 2 years to understand the issues and opportunities around recruitment, retention, salaries and costs.
  8. Currently it has not been finalised if tronc qualifies as part of the salary yet and can be included.

So, how can we help future proof the hospitality talent pipeline? This was a question Chris Gamm from Springboard UK one of our charity partners helped throw some light on what they are doing at the charity.

Brexit poses a threat to our workforce but there are 2 other major threats to our future workforce. The Covid pandemic means that a proportion of people will lose their jobs and typically around 30,000 young people enter into hospitality each year and they are struggling to find jobs at the moment.

‘Springboard to 2022’ is a project to help you focus on rebuilding and protecting as many jobs as possible to ensure you have a future talent pipeline. Springboard want to get 10,000 young people engaged and ready to work for us. This can be a great opportunity for taking away a lot of the pressure from your resource teams, as they will oversee the entire process, access government funding, deliver the training and supporting young people into employment with you.  Check out their website for the latest details  https://springboard.uk.net/support-us/springboard-to-2022/ We will also share the flyer for more information on our website.

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The Home office is also a good source of information as are updates from your own employment lawyers.