Hiring from the EU from 01 January 2021

From 01 January 2021, the way businesses hire from the EU is changing. Free movement is coming to an end and a new points-based immigration system is being introduced, which will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally.

In order to hire eligible people from outside the UK, organisations will need to become a licensed sponsor.

The new system does not apply to EEA or Swiss citizens already employed in the UK. EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK by 31 December 2020, and their family members, can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. They have until 30 June 2021 to apply.

How to become a sponsor?

Becoming a sponsor normally takes eight weeks and fees apply.

Step one

Before applying, check that the people you want to hire will meet the requirements for coming to the UK for work:

  • A job offer from an approved sponsor
  • That job offer must be at the required skill and salary level
    – the minimum skill level will be set at RQF3 (equivalent to A level)
    – the minimum salary threshold will be the higher of £25,600 or the ‘going rate’ for        that job – some employees may be paid less than £25,600, for example if their job    is in a shortage occupation
  • They must speak English at the required level

You should also check your business is eligible.

Step two

To apply, you will need to do the following:

  • Choose the type of skilled worker licence you want to apply for
  • Put appropriate systems in place to act as a sponsor

Step three

Apply for a sponsor license online and pay the fee.

Who can you hire as a licensed sponsor?

As a licensed sponsor, you will be able to hire eligible employees from anywhere in the world for four years.

Find out more about recruiting people from outside the UK from 01 January 2021

Read the official government guidance.

Sign up to receive email updates from the Home Office.