Thinking of hiring foreign workers? What you need to know


Date: 10 December 2021

Notepad with the words 'Hiring overseas workers' written on it

For some business owners, hiring foreign workers is almost essential. Translation firms or companies that work closely with clients in other countries need native language speakers from these places, for instance.

Whatever your prerequisite for employing someone from outside the UK, you must be mindful of certain rules and requirements that foreign workers need to adhere to if they want to work in the UK.

They will have to pass language tests

One of the key entry requirements for people seeking employment in the UK is that they meet the language expectations of the government and are proficient in English. Candidates need to reach a level of B1 in reading, writing, and speaking in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.

Luckily, nowadays it is easy for anyone to gain the language skills needed to pass tests and move to any country in the world. There are online tools and teachers for almost any language.

For instance, Brits wanting to move to France could brush up on their French using one-to-one lessons with a personal tutor. Unlike antiquated methods from yesteryear, it's possible to select learning methods that take into consideration busy, modern lifestyles and offer learning courses tailored to the student. For example, you can choose your personal tutor and select specific aspects of a language you'd like to work on, like conversational French or grammatical. Likewise, people in search of jobs in the UK can find English teachers that can guide them through the best methods to pass the entrance exam.

Sponsor licence and points-based system

In the past, it was easy for people within the European Union to move about freely and work. However, since the start of 2021, the rules have changed for the UK. Now, anyone wanting to gain employment in the UK will find it slightly more difficult. Employers must have a sponsor licence. This allows them to employ skilled workers from overseas. They must meet the required minimum salary, though, which is at least £25,600.

It's also wise for business owners to get acquainted with the UK's points-based immigration system. This process enables the government to fairly allocate visas to foreign citizens who score highly enough on the criteria.

Key responsibilities of employers

Along with ensuring that the migrants have permission to work in the UK, employers also need to collect the necessary documentation. This can include a passport, a residence permit, or a biometric immigration document.  Document management software can help with this. Employers should be vigilant when checking that passport photos match the person in question, and that date of birth and expiry dates are in order.

If your employee's right to work is time limited, you'll need to carry out follow up checks when the right to work is due to expire.

Employing foreign workers is not as straightforward as it used to be. Business owners need to be well versed in the new rules and make sure everything is above board before taking on workers from overseas.

Copyright 2021. Article was made possible by site supporter Nicholas Hill of Preply.

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