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Recruiting from Europe? Here’s everything you need to know post-Brexit

Research from the Office for National Statistics shows that since the EU referendum (June 2016), the number of EU nationals working in the UK has increased by 881,000 . However, with the free movement of people ending on December 31st this will have a significant impact on how businesses will recruit and hire staff moving forward.

In the majority of cases the government’s White Paper sets out a clear criterion of what non-UK nationals looking to work in the UK will need; a minimum salary threshold of £30,0000 and a minimum skill threshold of RQF Level 4 (equivalent to A-level occupations). But there are additional schemes being put in place to support younger people looking for employment in the UK and for unskilled temporary workers needed for seasonal work such as fruit picking. 

This article aims to outline the costs associated with hiring non-UK nationals after 1st January 2021 and what businesses will need to consider when hiring different age groups. 

There are a number of costs now associated with recruiting skilled non-UK workers: 

From 2021, employers will need to pay for a sponsorship licence to recruit which 

  • currently costs £1,536 for medium and large businesses and £536 for small businesses. While the exact costs for 2021 onwards are not yet confirmed, businesses should expect a similar figure to that which is already in place. 
  • Businesses will also need to pay an Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) for every worker they sponsor. This is currently set at £1,000 for the first 12 months of a worker’s employment with a sponsor, and £500 for each subsequent six months the worker is employed at the company. 
  • Many employers may also absorb any additional costs incurred by the visa applicants such as The Immigration Health Surcharge (HIS), which is currently set at £400 a year for non-EEA nationals in the country longer than six months. In addition, they may also pay any Visa fees, which for a family of four can exceed £10,000. 

There are various schemes available for employers looking to hire from certain demographics, based on the requirements of your business three key schemes to consider are:

Youth Mobility Scheme: If you’re hiring someone between the age of 18-30 the Youth Mobility Scheme allows 18-30-year-old EU citizens and non-EU citizens from around a dozen countries to live and work in the UK for a period of up to two years without an initial job offer. However, it is highly likely that this scheme will be subject to quotas to regulate the number of people on the scheme at any given time. 

A one-year temporary visa: Is a good option for employers looking to recruit unskilled and skilled worker on a temporary basis, up to 12 months, or for seasonal work. Under this scheme employees are also not subject to the £30,000 minimum salary threshold. This is a particularly attractive route for employers who need low-skilled workers to meet short-term fluctuations in demand e.g. seasonal workers in the hospitality sector.  

If you’re hiring someone over the age of 30: You will need to go through the traditional channels with employees required to have a minimum salary offer of £30,000, unless it is for a public service role in which there are some exceptions. They will also need to have a minimum of A-Level or equivalent level of qualifications. This is a change from the current system for recruiting non-EU workers in which employees are required to hold at least graduate-level occupations. 

While there is still a level of uncertainty around what recruitment will look like in practice from January, if you are planning to continue hiring talent from outside of the UK it’s important to understand associated costs and the different pathways on offer. For more information about the latest announcements to the new immigration system and what this could mean for your business, visit the CIPD Brexit Hub