Research from background screening and identity services company Sterling has revealed that an overwhelming majority of employers don’t feel comfortable with the new immigration rules which could potentially be putting them at risk when it comes to the recruitment and retention of workers.
During Sterling’s webinar, ‘Brexit: what employers need to know’, produced in conjunction with immigration law firm, Fragomen, just 2% of attendees stated that they feel comfortable with the new immigration rules post Brexit, with 84% experiencing some level of uncertainty. With the navigation of Covid-19 requiring so much attention for businesses, the last minute nature of the Brexit deal, and the fact that many details are yet to be finalised, it is perhaps unsurprising that so many employers are unsure about the new immigration rules.
While there are some elements of the deal that have yet to be fully ratified – including an agreement regarding the sharing of personal data across the two jurisdictions – Sterling and Fragoman have identified four key immigration requirements that employers and recruiters need to be aware of:
While individuals that have entered the UK before December 31st 2021 can stay post Brexit, necessary action needs to be taken to protect this status. There is a deadline of 30th June 2021 by which time they must have applied for a resident status under the EU settlement scheme.
The new immigration system now applies to people arriving in the UK from 1st January 2021. Consequently any EU citizens moving to the UK to work need to get a visa in advance of their arrival and be able to demonstrate their right to work.
Employers will need a sponsor licence to hire most workers from outside the UK with the two main categories being a ‘Worker’ and ‘Temporary Worker.’ While the former allows employers to hire individuals permanently or on a long-term basis and the latter as the name suggest on a short-term basis, eligibility requirements for each must be met by the sponsor.
In addition to the above-mentioned immigration requirements, Brexit has impacted cross border data transfers. While the UK and EU ‘data bridge’ means that there is a six-month transition period, employers must be aware of their responsibilities and ensure measures are put in place well before the transition period ends.
Steve Smith, Managing Director of Sterling (EMEA), commented:
“With Covid-19 taking centre stage last year, it is perhaps unsurprising that so many of our webinar attendees expressed some level of uncertainty about the new immigration rules. What’s more, with some details of the deal yet to be finalised – particularly in relation to data sharing between the UK and Europe – businesses are not only finding themselves navigating the complex new immigration landscape whilst still contending with the pandemic, but also awaiting information yet to be announced. The good news, however, is that there is still time to prepare with both the EU Settlement Scheme subject to a six-month deadline, and the data sharing between the UK and Europe subject to a six month ‘data bridge’ affording valuable time to employers to ensure they are operating compliantly under the new system. And while the end of the Brexit transition period has brought additional complexity when it comes to employment compliance, there are trusted suppliers who can help. At Sterling, for example, our UK Right to Work ID Verification service has compliance built into the solution to give employers peace of mind while also delivering a top-notch candidate experience.”