Human Resources, News

Employing Foreign Workers In UK After Brexit

Can I still employ Foreign Nationals in The UK?

This article covers employing foreign workers in the UK after Brexit. A foreign worker/ national can be defined as a person that is a non-UK passport holder this includes both EU and non-EU passport holders with the UK having left the European Union (EU) on 31st January 2020. Post-Brexit employment/recruitment laws for foreign nationals also known as overseas nationals, seeking work in the UK changed. For example, the free movement between the UK and the EU for work or residence ceased and an EU passport or a national identity card is no longer valid proof of rights to work or live in the UK. Although citizens from the Republic of Ireland are exempt from these rules. Employers in the UK have long valued workers from overseas due to the knowledge and skills they contribute to an organisation or a business. There are many reasons why an organisation may wish to employ workers from overseas, for example having specialist skills such as translators of languages not available in the UK Overseas workers are sometimes employed by governments in highly skilled job areas well there may be a shortage in a particular occupation to fill unskilled or low-skilled vacancies due to labour shortages.

Points System for Foreign Workers

Under new employment laws, the government introduced a UK points-based immigration system with the enactment of Brexit. This point system applies to any person(s) seeking employment in the UK, from outside the UK, excluding Irish citizens. In this points system, an individual needs to meet requirements within the system and apply for permissions which will require both a job offer from a sponsor and for the individual to demonstrate a level of proficiency in the English language.

Skilled Workers

Skilled workers can be recruited outside the UK through the ‘skilled worker route.’ This requires demonstrations of the following:

  • A job from a Home Office licence sponsor
  • Speak English at the required level
  • Job is at the required skill level equivalent to or above a level
  • Paid at least £25,600

If you are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein a foreign national and already lived in the UK pre-Brexit you might be able to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme to continue with the right to live and work in the UK.

People Professionals

To help in the recruitment of foreign nationals to the UK, ‘people professionals’ who are qualified to carry out necessary checks for foreign nationals seeking employment have become popular. People professionals also make sure that recruitment is carried out more easily for overseas workers and all laws in the UK are adhered to.

Penalties for Employing Foreign Workers

Employers in the UK can face a ‘civil penalty’ if found employing a worker/foreign national and they have not carried out the correct right to work checks. A civil penalty means that an employer can be prosecuted and jailed for five years and pay an unlimited fine if found guilty of employing a foreign national that does not have the right to work in the UK. Workers that do not have the right to work in the UK can include:

  • They are not allowed to do certain types of work
  • They do not have leave (permission) to enter or remain in the UK
  • If their leave has expired
  • The documents of the individual are incorrect or false

Employers must check not only that a foreign national has the right to work in the UK but must make sure the documents are valid. If you would like help with your policy and procedure documents or legal advice and contracts, please contact us using the form below.


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