With the end of free movement with the EU on 31 December 2020 quickly approaching, it is important for employers to be planning ahead. Whether you already hold a sponsorship licence or are unsure as to whether you may need one, Stone King is here to help. We have developed a free self-audit for any employer to use to help determine if you are Brexit ready and if not, what you can do now to be fully prepared. The tool is launching soon – further information will be available on the Stone King website as well as on our LinkedIn page.
We have provided further information, as well as common BREXIT related questions below.
- What does the end of free movement with the EU mean?
On 31 January 2020, the UK left the EU and entered a transition period. During this time the UK remains bound by EU law including the right of freedom of movement of persons within the EU which enables EU nationals to come to the UK to study or work without needing to obtain a visa to do so. This transition period it set to end on the 31 December 2021, following which, a new immigration system is set to come into force in the UK. Although specific detail of the new immigration system is yet to be released, we do know that it is very likely that European nationals arriving into the UK from 1 January 2021 to work will need sponsorship to do so.
Our head of immigration, Julie Moktadir, has recently answered common questions that employers have around the end of free movement here
- What is sponsorship?
Currently, non-EU nationals who wish to come to the UK and work must acquire sponsorship from their employer (unless they have obtained a non-work visa such as a spouse visa). In order for the employer to sponsor them, they must hold a sponsorship licence and once in place, assign them a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). When an individual makes their visa application to come to the UK, they will enter the unique reference number of the CoS assigned to them which confirms they have acquired sponsorship from a UK employer. Once their visa has been granted, the individual can come into the UK and work for their employer. During the employee’s employment, the employer must comply with a number of sponsor duties including record keeping and reporting duties in order to remain compliant with immigration law.
It is likely that this process will remain largely the same under the new immigration system in which EU nationals will also require sponsorship however, it is essential that existing and new sponsors are aware of any changes from 1 January 2021.
- How Stone King can help
It is crucial that employers engage in strategic planning in advance of 31 December 2020 to avoid potential shortages in the workforce. If you believe that the end of free movement will impact your future recruitment needs, it is important to are planning ahead and considering whether you will need to obtain a sponsorship licence or increase your CoS allocation or tiers on your existing licence.
To assist employers in this important exercise, Stone King’s immigration team have developed a free self-audit designed for all employers. The online tool asks a number of important questions that employers should be thinking about such as, asking how many EU nationals you currently employ and whether there is any risk of a shortage in your workforce. After answering all of the questions, you will then be presented with further reflections as well as a view on whether you are BREXIT ready, which is dependent upon your answers. Recommendations on how you can become further prepared will also be provided and you will of course have the opportunity to contact our immigration team to ask any further questions you may have on becoming fully BREXIT ready.
The self-audit for businesses will be going live in October and there will also be a specific self-audit for educational establishments launching in November, so watch this space. If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact Julie.