There is a new immigration system from 1 January 2021. Free movement will end, and the UK will introduce a points-based immigration system, which will treat EU and non-EU citizens (excluding Irish nationals) in the same way should they wish to come and work in the UK. Workers will be assessed under a specific set of requirements to see if they meet the criteria to work in the UK.
This will affect businesses employing EU citizens to work in the UK as the employer will need to apply to become an approved sponsor in order to provide a certificate to the individual, which in turn will facilitate their visa. The licence application cost is circa £500 – £1500 depending on the type of workers the employer will sponsor (Tier 2 or Tier 5). Further details of the scheme can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/employing-eu-citizens-in-the-uk.
This scheme is only relevant where employees are working in the UK. If it is the case that some employees will be working in the UK and others outside the UK, employers and employees alike will also need to consider the local rules in each specific country. It is, therefore, essential to obtain further details of the anticipated number of workers in each country to assess the necessary preparations so that your business is not unduly impacted.
Mercer & Hole would like to encourage businesses and individuals alike affected by this change in legislation to seek legal advice for their situation.