How are the new immigration rules changing how you do business?

On 01 January 2021 a new immigration system came into play and EU, EEA and/or Swiss nationals will no longer be allowed to move to the UK and work without a visa.  Under the new system, all foreign nationals will be treated equally, excepting Irish citizens.

Our region has a wide range of businesses, who employ overseas workers and Norfolk Chambers would like to hear how the new UK immigration rules are impacting on your workforce and your recruitment plans for the future.

We working with partners, such as the Local Enterprise Partnerships and the local authorities, to help support the local business community to protect current and future jobs.  As a group, we need to understand the overall impact on the workforce of new immigration changes.

For example, the social care sector in our region currently employs approximately 9% EU workers – with many whose salary levels will not meet the new immigration threshold.  What work have they done with their current overseas employees to ensure the can remain in the UK?  What plans are being made and how are care homes planning to mitigate their future overseas staffing needs?   Similarly, those in the agriculture and food sectors, are they seeing a knock-on effect as a result of changes in accessing temporary workers?  Have all your EU national employees applied for and received Settled Status?

We need to hear from as weide a range as businesses as possible.  Not just the care, agriculture and food sectors.  Your feeback willhelp to ensure that the right support mechanisms are put in place locally and to ensure we can continue to lobby appropriately on your behalf when talking to the Government Ministers and the Cabinet Office about how effective their systems are in reality.

Below are a summary of the key new immigrations rules in relation to business:

EU citizens who were living in the UK on 31 December 2020

If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen and you were resident in the UK on or before 31 December 2020, you should not apply for a visa under the points-based immigration system. You and your family should instead apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. Applications are free and the deadline for applying is 30 June 2021.

Employing EU citizens in the UK from 01 January 2021

Information for employers on employing EU, EEA and Swiss citizens in the UK, covering right to work checks, the EU Settlement Scheme and the UK’s new immigration system.  Full details can be found here.

Skilled workers

The points-based system includes a route for skilled workers who have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor.  The job offered will need to be at a required skill level of RQF3 or above (equivalent to A level). The person will also need to be able to speak English and be paid the relevant salary threshold by the sponsor. This will either be the general salary threshold of £25,600 or the going rate for the job, whichever is higher.

If the role earns less than this - but no less than £20,480 - you may still be able to apply by ‘trading’ points on specific characteristics against your salary. For example, if you have a job offer in a shortage occupation or have a PhD relevant to the job.

Seasonal Workers (Temporary Workers)

A Seasonal Worker may only stay in the UK for 6 months in any 12-month period.  A person on the Seasonal Worker route is not eligible to bring their dependants to the UK and a Seasonal Worker is not a route to settlement.

There are some sectors in the UK, particularly those in agriculture and food processing that employ seasonal workers i.e. fruit picking etc.  The person must be over 18 years of age and the application cannot be made more than 3 months in advance of the proposed start date.  For full information click here.

To give your feedback, please contact Nova.fairbank@norfolkchambers.co.uk  or call 01603 729 713.

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