The general election is fast approaching, and the main parties have been setting out their proposals for key issues such as health and education. It appears Brexit is still a very hot topic and one that may be front of mind if your business hires workers from within the EU. RfM’s Lead HR Consultant, Diane Johnson, explains what you need to know if you will be hiring non-UK workers after we leave the EU.
Please don’t shoot me for saying the ‘B’ word… I know we are all pulling our hair out about it! But, in my first post as Lead Consultant for RfM HR Services, it would be remiss of me not to flag our imminent exit from the EU as one of the most significant risk factors for businesses whose workers are mainly in the non-skilled category.
Right now, I am sure that if you employ EU Nationals you are already well on with supporting your staff as they apply for pre-settled status (less than 5 years in the UK) or settled status (already in the UK for more than 5 years). If you are not being active here, please act as soon as you can. The process is very straightforward and the system is working really well. It takes around 15 minutes to apply if the applicant has all the required documentation to hand.
Restrictions on hiring non-UK workers after 1 January 2021
What I really want to draw your attention to is a date not so far away – 1 January 2021. The landscape for Immigration is set to change radically from that point onwards. However, in a recent survey, a staggering 58% of people had either no, or very little, awareness of the immigration restrictions that will follow our exit from the EU.
It is not just businesses who currently rely on EU workers who need to start contingency planning. Changes to the Immigration system in the UK from 1 January 2021 will make the non-skilled labour market very competitive. You will want to act now to ensure your business is best placed to retain your current employees and attract new employees in the future.
So, unless there is a second referendum and the people of the UK choose to reverse the decision to leave, here’s what you need to know about employing people from outside of the UK in the future.
Like Brexit itself, the finer details are not yet set in stone, but the Immigration White Paper lays out the broad framework of the rules for employing anyone who is not of UK or Irish Nationality. The current proposal is that applicants for Non-Skilled roles* will only be able to apply for a 1-year work visa. If they fit the criteria for the Youth Mobility Scheme** they will be able to apply for a 2-year work visa.
The net result of these work restrictions is that non-skilled workers are going to be in much shorter supply than they are now. As a result, your business will have to work harder to attract workers to your business or retain those you already employ.
We also know that it’s not all about the money… Employees state that flexible working and development opportunities are the top two things they value from their employer.
It’s time to make a plan
So in short, businesses have just over a year to plan for these significant changes to labour market supply. My top two tips to prepare for this are:
- Get ahead of the game by creating a robust resourcing strategy;
- Find out what your employees want more of and less of, to improve engagement and retention.
If you are concerned about hiring or retaining workers after Brexit or would like to discuss another HR matter, please get in touch. Call Diane on 01772 431233 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an informal, no-obligation consultation.
* Non-skilled roles – think less than £30k per annum. It is possible that some roles and some nationalities may have more favourable treatment if there are skill shortages, or we have a trade agreement in place – but this is not clear at the moment.
** Youth Mobility Scheme is for people who want to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years, are aged 18 to 30, have £1,890 in savings, have certain types of Nationality and meet the other eligibility requirements including having no children living with them or being financially dependant on them.