For those businesses that are familiar with using the system to sponsor Tier 2 workers, much of what has been announced today by the Home Secretary is good news and business have been eagerly awaiting clarity on many of these points since December 2018. These include the removal of resident labour market testing, removal of the cap, lowering of the skills threshold and the salary threshold. There is added good news today with some flexibility around intra-company transferees and the cooling off period.
However, if you are a business not used to using the Tier 2 system, or if you have relied on EU talent rather than non-EU, the view is quite different. Businesses face three key challenges under the unified system for new arrival EU and non-EU national talent:
- Administrative procedures involved in the whole visa process that impact speed to deployment.
- The cost impact from EU nationals falling under the same skilled worker system.
- Barriers to entry for EU nationals that no-one is used to navigating. Even with the reduced skills level in that system research has suggested that 38% of EU workers currently employed in UK Financial Services (FS) firms would not be considered eligible under the UK’s new immigration system, rising to 55% in energy.
Our advice to business is assess and cost your exposure based on your talent pipeline, maximise routes available looking at both cost and speed, ensure you have a licence in place if you anticipate the need for non-UK talent, communicate new regulatory frameworks to manage expectations and compliance, and be mindful of how all of this impact may COVID-19 accelerated workforce transformations.