2020 has been one of the most challenging years most of us have faced for both personal and business reasons. We are looking to 2021 for a chance to rebuild. In the whirlwind of the coronavirus pandemic, Brexit, which had completely taken over the news just over a year ago, had drifted into the small print.
Businesses which have struggled to survive since March need to look now to a future after the vaccine. Many staff have been furloughed or made redundant this year. When businesses start to rebuild, one new dilemma (amongst many) will be recruitment.
Following the departure of the UK from the EU, our talent pool from which to recruit has been substantially reduced. EU nationals could previously come to live and work in the UK in exercise of their free movement rights, without the need for any immigration permission or documentation. British nationals could similarly move freely around Europe. From 1st January 2021, this is no longer the case. EU nationals will now be treated in the same way as non-EU nationals. They will have to satisfy strict criteria under the UK immigration rules if businesses require their skills. This will pose a particular challenge to the hospitality and tourism sectors which have already taken a severe battering during the pandemic.
The process of employing overseas nationals is costly, with basic Home Office application fees ranging from £536 to £1,476 per individual. This is an additional expense for businesses at a time when they have already been badly hit. Some smaller businesses in particular may not be able to afford these costs and therefore lose access to skilled labour. In addition, not all jobs will be able to meet the new points based criteria, which for example require a minimum salary of £25,600 unless the position is on a specific skills shortage list.
For further advice on business immigration contact Boardside on 01423 802 127.