Now that the UK has left Europe there are changes ahead for employers wishing to employ EU citizens. Last week saw the biggest change in immigration laws in the UK for over 40 years. Previously employers were able to employ EU nationals by checking their passport and retaining relevant copies. This could take place on the day that the EU national started work for that particular employer. The Government has now announced that this will all change. EU nationals will now need to apply for a visa before coming to the UK to work. Employers must act now to ensure that they secure their workforce of the future. In order to employ EU citizens going forwards, employers will be required to obtain a licence that will give them the permission to sponsor EU workers to come to the UK.
The application can be complex and can lead to the Home Office undertaking an audit of your HR systems prior to granting your licence. Also your licence application can be refused. Our immigration team specialises in submitting these types of applications and can review your HR systems and policies before submitting the application to ensure your processes are compliant. In addition, we can provide training to your existing team so they are up to date on the new requirements.
Companies can not continue to employ EU citizens who have obtained a licence. The EU citizens role must meet the Government’s threshold of a skilled worker. Companies should undertake a review of their current roles to ascertain which roles will no longer be eligible for non UK workers. Identifying potential recruitment difficulties and skills gaps at an early stage will allow companies to create and implement action plans to ensure their business grows and is able to withstand the upcoming changes.
The Government has been very clear that they want companies to adapt and adjust therefore companies should also look at any automation or upskilling opportunities that could be implemented going forwards. PwC has a dedicated team that is focused on the workforce of the future and would be happy to share their strategic insights.
It is important to plan now for the new immigration system. This will ensure that companies are aware of any pitfalls or threats to business growth.
PwC can assist in updating your immigration compliance strategy, skills mapping, cost projections, audit reviews of licences as well as training and communications to your new and existing staff. We have a great team here and would be happy to help.