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Hiring or bringing EEA nationals to the UK post-Brexit?


Chetal Patel


November 09, 2021


08:03 PM

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It is important that at the outset of any visit to the UK, the parameters of the trip are carefully considered to ensure that there are no unpleasant issues at the border. Here are three things to consider when thinking about hiring or bringing EEA nationals to the UK in this post-Brexit era.

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Business visits

Under the visitor rules, individuals can enter the UK to carry out some work activities. However, it is important that organisations and individuals are aware of the limitations of these activities and ensure everyone involved is aware and understands the nature of the visits. For example, a business visitor may attend meetings, conferences, seminars and interviews and they can negotiate and sign deals and contracts. They can also be briefed on the requirements of a UK-based customer – however the work for this customer must then be done outside of the UK.

Unless expressly allowed in the visitor rules, visitors are not allowed to work in the UK, which includes taking employment in the UK, doing work for an organisation or business in the UK and providing goods and services, among others. Visitors must also not receive payment from a UK source, with limited exceptions. It is very important that organisations and individuals are aware of which activities can be done as although EEA nationals are non-visa nationals, an individual may be questioned at the border on their intended purpose in the UK – if a border official believes their visit does not fall within the rules they may be refused entry which can have an impact on any future visa applications or entry to the UK they may make.

Sponsorship routes

If organisations have a vacant role in the UK and wish to hire a candidate from overseas, including EEA nationals, they may need to consider sponsorship. The organisation would in the first instance need a sponsor licence and will need systems in place to meet its sponsor duties. If the candidate works for the company group overseas and the UK position is temporary, organisations should consider the Intra-Company route. For permanent positions or for new hires, Skilled Worker may be more appropriate.

Consider timelines

As EEA nationals now require immigration permission be allowed to work in the UK, it is important that organisations factor this into any hiring timelines. If the organisation does not have a sponsor licence, they may need to apply and be approved as a sponsor before offering sponsorship which can take up to 8 weeks for the Home Office to process once all documentation is submitted. Once a licence is obtained, there is still a visa application process the individual has to go through and organisations should consider if they are willing to pay additional costs to expedite this and whether the individual will need extra time to satisfy any requirements, such as English language, TB tests or COVID entry requirements.

Understand More About UK Immigration in a Post-Brexit World and Other UK Immigration Matters

Bates Wells is a London-based full service firm with a global outlook. Championing the market as London's first B-Corp law firm, Bates Wells practices a value-driven approach to client relations and aligns themselves to notable causes. In their specialty area of Immigration Law, Bates Wells handles matters of: Personal Immigration, Business Immigration and High Net Worth Immigration.

Connect with Chetal and schedule a consultation to discuss UK Immigration Pathways.


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