Ever since the 2016 referendum, people have been nervous and skeptical about how Brexit will impact Europeans living and working in the UK.
Now that we’ve finally left the EU, many Europeans are unsure about applying to UK positions due to changing laws and regulations.
If you feel in the dark and are worried about how will Brexit affect Europeans working in the UK, know your options and your Visas...
European Citizens – European Settlement Scheme
If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen working in or thinking of moving to the UK, you’ll now need a residence and work permit. The easiest way of gaining this is to apply to the European Settlement Scheme – which is quick, simple and free.
The EU Settlement Scheme means you will be able to keep your EU rights in with the UK and stay here after Brexit. Read more about this scheme and what it means for you in our blog How Will Brexit Affect Europeans Working in the UK?
Non-EU Citizens – Tier 2 UK Visa
In the past, skilled foreign workers would have needed to apply for a Tier 1 visa to work in the UK, however, this is currently suspended for those living outside of the UK.
This now means that most people needing a UK visa for a permanent role will need to apply for a Tier 2 visa – which is governed by a points-based system (PBS) and is aimed at migrants who are from outside of the EU, EEA, and Switzerland, and want to work in the UK.
There are several categories in the Tier 2 visa, but skilled workers should apply under the general category – this is for those who have been offered a skilled job to fill a gap in the workforce.
You can apply three months before starting the job you’ve been offered, at the earliest and can stay in the UK for up to five years on a Tier 2 visa (this will depend on the period stated on your certificate). The length of time on the certificate can be extended, as long as the total time spent on the visa is no longer than six years.
Who is eligible for a Tier 2 UK Visa?
Whether you are eligible for a Tier 2 visa will come down to whether you generate enough points within the PBS. Points are awarded on the following basis
- Whether you have valid sponsorship from a UK employer
- Whether you have an agreed salary for the permanent role over £20,000 a year
- The standard of your English language skills: if you are from a majority English speaking country/have a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) or above that was taught in English/have passed an approved English language test
- If you don’t fill any of the English language criteria, you won’t be eligible for a visa
Sponsorship within a UK role
Gaining sponsorship from an employer can be tricky as it requires them to do a lot of time and admin work, as well as paying an annual fee to the government. So, it’s worth finding out whether sponsorship is available before you apply for a job in the UK.
If you’re applying to a job in the UK through us at Skillsearch, don’t hesitate to ask your consultant whether the company you’re applying for will sponsor your visa application!
The Reality of Getting a UK Visa
The government decides how many foreign workers to grant a Tier 2 visa to on an annual basis – so getting your hands on one can be a difficult job. However, don’t give up hope! The UK regulations are changing, so this is likely to impact the market significantly.
Thanks to the recent IR35 changes, there is likely to be a change in how companies conduct their workforce – due to having to decide whether to operate inside or outside of IR35. If you're unsure you may want to find out a bit more about IR35 changes and what it means for you.
Increase your Chances of Getting a Tier 2 Visa
The best way to increase the likelihood of gaining a Tier 2 visa is to build up your CV! Gain experience in countries that you’re easily able to work in, as the more experience you have, the more valuable you are to employers – so they’re more likely to sponsor you with a visa.
Consider whether it makes business sense for someone to sponsor you. The more skilled and experienced you are, the more you will be of interest to them.
If you’re not sure about gaining a visa, there is the option of working through an umbrella company, or doing contract work, as this can make getting a work permit a lot easier!
Still feeling a bit wary about getting hold of a work visa? Get in touch with the team and we can help de-fog the process as much as possible.
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