Brexit : What do EU Candidates need to know?

Are you an EU citizen and need to know about UK work visas after Brexit?

Although the pandemic, vaccines, and the US election have been at the forefront of news coverage, we are looming closer and closer to the Brexit deadline. However you feel about it, it’s important to know how it will affect candidates coming to the UK after 1st January 2021.

The UK government website has a lot of information about this subject but it’s a lot to absorb, but definitely worth a read if you are looking for a job in the UK (or looking to hire outside of the UK). However, if you just want a succinct read, here is a handy little guide to help you navigate the future ahead.

The New Immigration System

From the beginning of next year, any candidates arriving in the UK will need to have a visa in advance. The visa that you’ll be needing will be the skilled worker visa and you will need a job offer from an approved employer sponsor to be able to apply.

Employers need to take this into consideration, now rather than later, so if they are planning to continue to hire outside of the UK, they aren’t delaying the job process later on.

The Point Based System 

With the new point system, you will need to be at a required skill level of RQF3 or above (basically equivalent to A levels in the UK). The ability to speak English will be key and the salary threshold will need to be £25,600 or the going rate for your job, whichever is higher. If you earn less than this (no lower than £20,480) you may still be able to apply by ‘exchanging’ points on specific characteristics against your salary. For example, you may be okay if you have a high qualification suitable for your role or there aren’t enough people to fill that role in the UK.

EU Settlement Scheme

If you currently live in the UK as an EU citizen you can continue living in the UK. However, you will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme before June 2021. You don’t need to pay to apply to the scheme.

General Work Visa (Tier 2)

This is the visa that the majority of EU citizens will be applying for. The earliest you can apply for the visa is three months before you start working in the UK. You should get an answer about your visa within 3 weeks of the application. There are different costs depending on how long your visa lasts and how many members of your family are moving with you. You will also pay less if your application falls under the ‘shortage occupation’ category. You can pay extra for a faster response to your application if needed.

The maximum time you can stay in the UK with a general work visa is 5 years and 14 days. Or the time that is given on the certificate of sponsorship plus 1 month, whichever is shorter.

What you can and cannot do

You can:

  • Work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
  • Have a second job in certain circumstances
  • Volunteer
  • Study as long as it does not interfere with your job
  • Travel abroad and return to the UK
  • Bring family members with you

You cannot:

  • Own more than 10% of your sponsor’s shares (unless you earn more than £159,600 a year)
  • Get public funds
  • Apply for a second job until you’ve started working at your first role

Need more information?

If you have more queries about Brexit issues, we have prepared an information sheet which may be helpful. Just email me and I’ll happily send you our brief guide.

Alex Louise is a member of the Operations team at Harvey John.

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