Employing Non-UK Residents

What is a Non UK Resident?

A non-UK resident or foreign national can be defined as a person that is a non-UK passport holder this includes both EU and non-EU passport holders. The UK left the European Union (EU) on 31st January 2020. This article covers employing Non-UK residents for UK businesses.

Post-Brexit employment/recruitment laws for foreign nationals also known as overseas nationals, seeking work in the UK changed.

For example, the free movement between the UK and the EU for work or residence ceased and an EU passport or a national identity card is no longer valid proof of rights to work or live in the UK.

Citizens from the Republic of Ireland are exempt from these rules.

Why Are Businesses Employing Non-UK Residents?

Employers in the UK have long valued workers from overseas due to the knowledge and skills they contribute to an organisation or a business.

There are many reasons why an organisation may wish to employ workers from overseas:

  • Special skills such as translators of languages not available in the UK.
  • Overseas workers are sometimes employed by governments in highly skilled job areas. There are often shortages in a particular occupation.
  • To fill unskilled or low skilled vacancies due to labour shortage.

What is the Points Based System?

Under new employment laws, the government introduced a UK points-based immigration system with the enactment of Brexit.

This point system applies to any person(s) seeking employment in the UK, from outside the UK, excluding Irish citizens.

In this points system, an individual needs to meet requirements within the system and apply for permissions. These require both a job offer from a sponsor and to demonstrate a level of proficiency in the English language.

What does a Non-UK National Need to Work in the UK?

Skilled workers can be recruited outside the UK through the ‘skilled worker route.’ This requires demonstrations of the following:

  • A job from a Home Office licence sponsor.
  • Speak English at the required level.
  • Job is at the required skill level equivalent to or above a level.
  • Paid at least £25,600.

What is the Settlement Scheme?

If you are an EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein foreign national and already lived in the UK pre-Brexit, you might be able to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme to continue with the right to live and work in the UK.

What are People Professionals?

In addition, to help in the recruitment of foreign nationals to the UK, ‘people professionals’ who are qualified to carry out necessary checks for foreign nationals seeking employment have become popular.

People professionals also make sure that recruitment is carried out more easily for the overseas workers and all laws in the UK are adhere to.

Penalties for Employing Non-UK Residents Without Right to Work

Employers in the UK can face a ‘civil penalty’ if found employing a worker/foreign national and they have not carried out the correct right to work checks.

A civil penalty means that an employer can be prosecuted and jailed for five years and pay an unlimited fine if found guilty of employing a foreign national that does not have the right to work in the UK.

Who Does Not Have the Right to Work in the UK?

Workers that do not have the right to work in the UK can include:

  • They are not allowed to do certain types of work.
  • They do not have leave (permission) to enter or remain in the UK.
  • If their leave has expired.
  • The documents of the individual are incorrect or false.

Employers must check not only that a foreign national has the right to work in the UK but must make sure the documents are valid.

Related article: Employment Law and Workers Rights UK.