Many international professionals are looking to shift to the UK post-Brexit. Considering the skills shortage and the ever-growing gap, the UK has set out newer immigration policies and visas to ensure international talent considers the UK a lucrative option. Employers in the UK will have to put in an application for sponsorship licence to ensure all the legalities and formalities are in order.
Since Brexit halted free movement between the UK and the EU, UK employers wishing to hire EU nationals also need a sponsorship licence. However, this does not affect EU nationals settled under the EUSS scheme. Now, employers can also hire international talent with the high potential visa and those under the youth mobility scheme. Even graduate visa holders are eligible for employment in the UK. The only difference here is the duration, which is limited to 2 years. Individuals already holding these visas will need to switch to a sponsored work visa before they can continue work in the UK after 2 years. To do this, it is best to contact an immigration attorney and ensure the process is smooth.
Let us look at how you can employ talent in the UK.
Why Employ Overseas Talent?
There are many reasons why UK businesses may require international talent. Some of these reasons are:
- Temporary vacancies
- Highly skilled jobs in the shortage occupation list
- Secondments or transfers
- Language and technical skills not available in the UK
- Filling low or unskilled worker categories due to severe labour shortages in the UK
How to get the Sponsorship Licence?
To employ talent from overseas, UK companies need a sponsorship licence. There are a few things to consider for a sponsorship licence, like the eligibility requirements, application, wait times, licence approval, job role and suitability, CoS (Certificate of Sponsorship) and CoS number, and work visa applications.
Apply for the Sponsorship Licence:
To apply for the sponsorship licence, employers need:
- Complete the application form
- Pay the fee
- Submission sheet with the application form
- All supporting documents to the UKVI
Wait for the Application Decision:
Most sponsorship licence application deadlines are 8 weeks long. However, it is possible to apply for a fast-track route with an additional £500. Doing this and paying for the expedited decision online will allow the decision to come through in 10 working days, as against the requisite 8 weeks.
Applications are also first-come, first-served, so it is best to make enquiries about the processing time during submission. It would be best to check the timings and dates beforehand.
What is needed?
Experienced HR personnel will be needed to hire international talent from overseas. If not, companies should employ skilled immigration attorneys to help with the paperwork, legalities, and documentation.
While the first step to hiring overseas talent is getting a sponsorship licence, it is not the only one. Employers need to consider different forms of recruitment, contracts, past work, certificates, degrees, educational qualifications, and more of overseas employees before making an offer of employment. Since the UK has strict norms about hiring overseas talent, employers must furnish all the documentation and proof of requirement to the UKVI.
After the initial sorting, there may also be a face-to-face interview with the UKVI either in the employee’s home country or in the UK.
Employers hiring international talent in the UK must provide new employees with a contract that must be accepted. The contract is essential for temporary and permanent positions and should entail the following:
- Duration of work or assignment
- Details of pay
- Notice period and termination clauses
- Relocation expenses and pensions
- Travel expenses for family
- Temporary accommodation details
- Return trips to home country
- Shifting and moving expenses
- Any applicable laws that pertain to the employment contract with the UK company
- Dual contracts for international talent who will be splitting their time between the UK and their home or other countries
Besides these, UK employers also need to help new overseas employees find temporary accommodation, get their driving licences, and do bank formalities.
Induction programs are necessary for international talent in the UK – everything from work training for newer styles to cultural conditioning. Since the UK is a mixed pot of cultures, it is necessary for international workers in the UK to understand UK society, holidays, cultures and traditions, and more.
If no cultural inductions are available, employers should arrange a ‘buddy’ system so new employees don’t feel left out. Buddy systems at the workplace also help employees with non-work-related queries. A good example would be what to take for housewarming parties in the UK or whether it is appropriate to gift someone a watch, shoes, or a bottle of wine.