Many business owners and managers find the idea of employing foreign workers attractive. The internet has also made it easier by making it possible to strike up conversations with employment-seeking individuals from other countries.
Many countries in South America, Eastern Europe, the Far East, and Africa have highly skilled people looking for jobs that you can employ for your business in the UK. However, as an employer in the UK interested in employing foreign staff, there are specific requirements you will have to meet. These requirements may vary based on the skill set, nationality, and contract length of the workers you intend to hire.
The UK is currently experiencing a massive shortage of skilled labor. There is an urgent need to fill roles that involve technical skills that are currently not available in the talent pool available in the country. Overseas workers often provide the technical skills for these roles. A recent National Audit Report showed that there is a shortage of health workers like nurses, midwives, and doctors. Foreign workers are often brought in for these roles.
Asides from the NHS, any founder or manager of a tech-savvy business will allude to the paucity of engineers and scientists with some specific specializations. In addition to skilled roles like these, there is also a percentage of the unskilled workforce that come into the UK to take up low-skilled roles that people in the UK consider menial.
To sum it up, foreign nationals often come into the UK to either fill up roles that UK citizens can’t fill either due to lack of skill requirement or to take jobs that people consider too menial. No matter the reason for hiring a foreign worker, anyone coming into the UK to work from another country will need to get a work visa to do so.
There are different routes through which these can be achieved. These include:
To hire skilled workers from another country, such a person must prove to the home office that they have been given a job offer from a licensed sponsor. This is a business organization in the UK licenced to sponsor the visa application of a migrant worker. Thus, getting a sponsor licence is the starting point for any company looking to hire a foreign skilled worker.
Other requirements for this visa application route include a minimum skill level of RQF3 (A-level equivalent) and Proof of English proficiency. The minimum salary threshold that you must offer a company trying to hire a foreign skilled worker is currently pegged at £25,600 or the standard going rate for that job in case it is higher.
Additionally, employers hiring skilled foreign workers are also required to pay a token for every migrant worker they hire. They are expected to pay £1,000 the first year of employment and an additional charge of £500 per employee for every six-month afterward.
This route makes it possible for highly skilled people to enter the UK without a job offer from an employee. This means you may be able to hire highly skilled workers in this category without necessarily participating in their visa application process. Migrant workers entering the UK through this route are required to achieve a specific point level as endorsed by the Home office and approved by one of six UK bodies.
This is a newly opened route for international students who have recently completed their degree (from the summer of 2021. This route allows them to stay back in the UK for two years after the end of their studies to work at any skilled level. Since this is also an unsponsored route, you as an employer don’t have to fulfill any other requirement.
If you run a multinational company and you intend to transfer a worker from one of your branches overseas to a branch in the UK, you can explore the intra-company transfer route. This is a sponsored route that requires you to have a sponsor licence. The job is also subject to a minimum salary threshold (same as the skilled worker route) and an RQF 6 skill level.
If you are a UK employer looking to hire migrant workers, you need to be aware of the basic requirements and also know how to apply for licence sponsorship. Consider speaking to an immigration lawyer to advise you further on the requirement so you don’t end up breaking any laws or hiring migrant workers illegally.