It is hard to find a school that does not employ European Economic Area (EEA) nationals. One of the key Brexit questions is, “What will happen to EEA nationals in the UK when the UK leaves the EEA?” The Migratory Advisory Committee released their report on EEA nationals and migration in August. The recommendation is that people from the EEA should face the same immigration rules as those from outside the EEA and ties in with Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans to end freedom of movement and adopt a skills-based migration policy. What could this mean in practice?
In a nutshell it means people from the EU would face the same immigration rules as those from elsewhere, once the UK has completely left the EU. EEA nationals may need to be sponsored. Any schools who currently sponsor overseas nationals to work or study in their organisation will be aware of the duties under the immigration rules. Organisations must hold a licence, and ensure that they are compliant at all times.This could mean that schools with a sponsorship licence could be in a more advantageous positions in the future if EEA nationals require sponsorship.
For now, we are aware of the transitional arrangements which are planned to be in place from the UK’s departure from the EU in March 2019 until December 2020. In that period all EEA nationals will need to register as settled (if they have been in the UK for more than 5 years) and pre settled (if their period of residence in the UK has been less than 5 years.
If you continue to employ EEA nationals, this will be the equivalent of beginning recruiting and employing overseas nationals. You should consider the cost implications, legal duties and time constraints. The type of licence you will need will depend upon whether you are looking to employ a skilled worker for a longer period, or in a temporary position. These two categories are known as Tier 2 and Tier 5.
In order to register and apply for your licence as a Tier 2 sponsor (to employ a skilled worker long term or permanently) you will need to submit an online application form and provide a number of original documents to prove that you are suitable and eligible. A sponsor licence will ordinarily be valid for four years. This is of course so long as the licence is not revoked or surrendered.
As a Tier 2 Sponsor you will need to accept a number of responsibilities and keep good employment related records as well as notify the Home Office of changes or issues relating to Tier 2 employees. The Home Office may also make site visits, to ensure that the sponsor is complying.
Stone King offer support in preparing letters to EEA national employees to deal with their immigration status; and support and advice on all types of immigration including licence applications, the use of the Sponsor Management system and advice on EEA nationals within an education setting.