How to access talent from the EU after Brexit

How to access talent from the EU after Brexit

With Brexit just around the corner, we recently ran a webinar which aimed to inform you on how legislation changes will impact your business’ ability to continue hiring new talent using the new points-based immigration system from the EU in 2021. We were joined by Sian Hoare, Principal Associate at the leading UK law firm, Shoosmiths, who ran through the following topics:

  • What is changing
  • How to prepare for the end of free movement
  • New routes into the UK post January 2021

Watch the full webinar here, or continue to read a light summary of the webinar below.

The live webinar began with a poll that asked our audience ‘how ready are you for the changes?’, which revealed that over half (64%) don’t feel prepared. Considering we’re coming to the end of 2020, it’s evident that there is still a lot of work for businesses to do.

What’s changing?

For the first part of the webinar, Sian focused on what’s changing. Apart from the new immigration system, she highlighted that there will also be changes to right to work document checks.

The normal process for these document checks will remain the same up until 30 June 2021, but after this point, workers will be required to show their status under the EU settlement scheme. This must be carried out in-house, not by a third-party company, at the same stage of the recruitment process for all candidates before employment commences.

If workers are found to be illegally employed, the following penalties could apply:

  • A fine of up to £20,000 per illegal worker
  • Imprisonment
  • Sponsorship license downgraded or revoked (which could impact other workers you are sponsoring)

Currently, the government has said that you don’t need to carry out retrospective checks on your current EU-national workers.

How to prepare for the end of free movement                

Whilst you can’t request evidence of settled status from your current EU workers, it is important to share positive communications with them to apply to the EU settled scheme before the deadline, so they don’t get caught out by any delays.

And, if you’re not currently sure on what your EU workforce looks like, now is the perfect time to carry out an audit. This will help if there ever comes a time when a retrospective check is necessary post June 2021.

Other important things you can be doing to prepare include:

  • Applying for your sponsor license
  • Current license MOT
  • Adding overseas entities
  • Budgeting increased visa costs

To hear more about these points in detail, sign up here to receive a link to our free on-demand webinar.

New routes into the UK post January 2021

Whilst there are a number of new routes into the UK for overseas workers, Sian reassured the audience, commenting:

“There’s not a huge difference to our current system.”

Going forward there will be a number of sponsored routes under a points-based system (skilled worker and intercompnay transfers), existing routes that will be extended to EU/EEA citizens and some new routes (such as highly-skilled workers, graduates and frontier workers).

To find out further detail on what criteria each type of worker needs to meet, sign up here for a recording of the webinar, where Sian discusses each one individually.


Looking for further help? Check-out these useful links and further resources below:

Guidance on right to work checks

Check if you’re a licensed sponsor

Guidance for sponsors

Guidance on the new immigration system

Sign up for Shoosmiths’ webinar ‘Right to Work check changes’


Alternatively you can contact Sian for further information and guidance.

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