Brexit – can I still employ someone from the EU?

More than likely due to Covid, the final Brexit deal trickled through at 11pm on January 1st 2021 fairly unnoticed – still working to EU time to last!

Unless you are importing or exporting goods, the only other immediate impact is on employment. If you currently employ EU Nationals you must ensure that they either qualify and have applied for a skilled worker visa, and you as an employer have a sponsor license, or they have applied for settled status by June 2021 (an employer can not force someone to take settled status however it would be advised to encourage this if they want to stay working in the UK).

You can still employ people from the EU but they will now have to pass the criteria for skilled worker visa;

– they have a job offer from a Home Office licensed sponsor
– they speak English at the required level
– the job offer is at the required skill level of RQF3 or above (equivalent to A level)
they’ll be paid at least £25,600 or the ‘going rate’ for the job offer, whichever is higher.

Also an employer must apply for a sponsor license before the start of the employment in a similar way to employing non-EU nationals without the right reside in the UK.

There are some exceptions to the minimum payment to cover skills shortages but that still carries a minimum wage of £20,480 which arguably leaves many key roles exempt.

The EU provides an invaluable pool of highly skilled workers and employers should not see this as a barrier to employing the right people for the job but you must ensure you fully comply with all the new requirements or risk penalties. Full details can be found here;

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/recruiting-people-from-outside-the-uk
https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/recruiting-people-from-outside-the-uk#apply-for-a-sponsor-licence