Now that the Brexit transition period has ended, the UK’s relatively new points-based immigration system will apply to EU and non-UK citizens coming to work in the country. Brexit will also impact EU nationals already working in the UK and British nationals looking to work in Europe.

Current employees from the EU
EU citizens who are already in employment in the UK prior to the end of the transition period will need to apply for settled or pre-settled status. They have until 30th June 2021 to apply. The Government has created an online toolkit (Employer Toolkit) to help employers support EU citizens to apply to stay in the UK (link below), which includes:

  • Template letters
  • Factsheets, leaflets and posters
  • Social media graphics and videos
  • Presentations
  • Translated materials

Taking on someone new
In many cases, employers will need to sponsor EU citizens (as well as those from the rest of the world) who want to come and work for them. To do so, they may need to apply for a Skilled Worker sponsor’s licence – both of which cost money. For small businesses the fees are:

  • Sponsor’s licence £536
  • Certificate of Sponsorship £199 (per employee)
  • Sponsor fee £1,000 per year per employee

Having obtained the correct paperwork, you can start to look for candidates with the appropriate skills and points to qualify for entry – the qualification mark is 70 points. These are how they can be obtained:

  • 40 points – job offer from an approved employer for a skilled job
  • 10 points – able to speak English
  • 20 points – due to be paid at least £25,600 per year
  • 10 points – relevant PhD
  • 20 points – PhD in science, technology, engineering or maths
  • 20 points – for a job in which the UK has a shortage even if it doesn’t pay as much money
  • 20 points – some jobs in health and education, but the applicant must be paid at least £20,480 per year

Prospective employees will also have fees to pay in relation to their application and appointment in a new job, many professionals believe that employers should also cover these costs once employment is confirmed:

  • The visa application fee varies depending on the duration of the sponsorship and whether the individual is making the application from within or outside the UK. Fees currently range from £610 to £1,408 and are likely to increase each April
  • The Immigration Health Surcharge is £624 and payable on application for the term of the sponsorship, so the upfront cost of a 5 year appointment would be £3,120

Managing employee information
The onus is firmly on employers to prove the eligibility of their employees to settle in the UK, so accurate record keeping and an audit trail of documentation is advisable. We recommend the Breathe HR system which enables the secure electronic storage of all related documentation. Employers who are challenged by the Home Office will need to provide an audit of their employment policies and to prove they have followed procedures correctly.


There will be penalties of up to £20,000 for employers who don’t follow the correct procedures and fail to carry out the current right to work checks if it is later discovered that an individual is working in the UK illegally.

If you have any questions about these changes or need additional support please don’t hesitate to contact us.