The Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020, and new rules for workers come into force on 01 January 2021. While the new rules make it easier to employ someone from most of the rest of the world, they make it much harder to employ EEA nationals, who will no longer have freedom of movement but will now be subject to UK immigration law.
Companies wanting to employ EEA nationals who are not already resident in the UK by the end of the transition period will need to be licenced by the Home Office before they can employ someone. There isn't much time to get a sponsor licence before the new rules come into effect, but it can be done - just.
The Home Office say that you should allow around eight weeks for your application for a sponsor licence to be processed - so applications should be submitted as soon as possible, and certainly by 02 November 2020, if you are to have your sponsor licence in place by the time the new rules come into force.
Conduct a compliance audit
The first thing to do is to conduct an internal compliance audit. Are your HR systems robust? Does your record keeping meet the standards expected by the Home Office?
Get your documents in order
You need to get your documents in order, to satisfy the Home Office that you are a legitimate business, registered in and operating from the UK.
Identify your key people
There are strict rules for who can use the Sponsor Management System (SMS) which is the Home Office system through which you would communicate with the Home Office about your sponsored workers. You need to identify suitable people to operate it (an unauthorised person using the SMS can lead to your licence being revoked).
Submit your application
Once you're ready you should submit your application for a sponsor licence. As this can take around eight weeks to be processed, you really should be submitting your application no later than the end of October 2020.
Getting your sponsor licence is only the first step towards being able to employ someone from overseas - you would still need to apply for a 'Certificate of Sponsorship' (CoS) for each person you wish to employ.
Your potential employees with need a valid CoS number to apply for their visas.
Call now to see how we can help you to get your sponsorship licence
From the internal compliance audit to checking your documents to preparing your application - get help from an experienced immigration lawyer.