Every year, thousands of non-UK nationals immigrate to the United Kingdom in order to work for British companies and employers. If you are not from England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland and are looking to work in one of those countries, you should familiarize yourself with the innumerable available jobs in the UK for foreigners. If you are considering employing foreign workers in the UK, you should examine the process of hiring someone from outside the UK. Today’s blog will provide an overview of how to hire someone from the EU (and from outside the zone) to come work in the UK. In addition, it will answer the question, “how do I recruit abroad?” from the perspective of a UK employer, and explain important subjects such as how to apply for a sponsor licence for Skilled Workers and Intra-company Transfers, and the topic of EU workers in the UK (in the context of the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)). Learn all about these and the other requirements to recruit from outside the UK—below!

Employing foreign workers in the UK

  • You can employ foreign workers to work at your business provided you follow all of the UK immigration rules pursuant to hiring someone from outside the UK. These rules vary depending on the type of visa your would-be employee is pursuing (although most employees will require sponsorship).  
  • If you are looking to hire someone from the EU, they may be able to pursue a visa in the absence of sponsorship, through the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). Eligible applicants for the EUSS include EU workers in the UK (i.e. EU citizens, as well as Icelandic, Liechtensteiner, Norwegian and Swiss citizens) who were residing in Britain any time prior to January 1st, 2021 (contact us here for a full list of eligibility requirements for this UK visa scheme). If your would-be employee successfully receives pre-settlement or settlement status via EUSS, he or she will be able to work for you without you having to sponsor them.  
  • If the person you are hiring is a non-EU foreigner (i.e. someone who does not qualify for the EUSS), then you will have to go through the standard process of hiring a non-UK worker. If you do not already have one, you will have to apply for a sponsor licence in order to be able to employ them (as previously mentioned, an exception to this is those who are applying for UK immigration via the EUSS). For example, if you are hiring Skilled Workers, you will have to apply for a sponsor licence. Once approved, you will be able to issue certificates of sponsorship to your foreign employees, which they will need in order to officially apply for their visa. 
  • If you are British and have foreigners in your employee who are based abroad, then you obviously do not need to pursue sponsorship for them (because they do not live in the UK). However, if you are hiring someone who needs an Intra-company transfers visa (i.e. you are having an abroad-based employee immigrate to the UK for the purpose of being employed by you domestically), you will also need a sponsorship licence (so you can provide them with a certificate of sponsorship). 
  • Not all foreign workers are eligible for being recruited by UK employers. As an employer, you will have to make sure that the person you seek to hire is eligible for sponsorship under the terms of the specific visa they are applying for. For example, if your worker is pursuing a Skilled Worker visa, the job you are seeking to hire them for must meet the following conditions in addition to those pertaining to sponsorship. These include the following: 
    • In terms of salary, the job must offer whatever scenario pays more: a minimum salary of (£25,600) or the average salary for the position (please note that the average salary must exceed that of minimum (£25,600)).
    • The position must meet or exceed the stated Skilled Worker skill level qualification (RQF3).
  • Therefore, if the job you are seeking to hire a foreign employee for does not offer the minimum salary requirement for the Skilled Worker visa and does not at least meet the Skilled Worker skill level qualification, a foreigner will not be able to apply for a Skilled Worker visa in order to come work for you, even if you are indeed a licensed sponsor.  

How do I recruit abroad?

  1. Determine whether your company meets the eligibility requirements for the sponsor licence
    • Employers who have been convicted of particular crimes, particularly those pertaining to immigration, or those who have lost a previously-granted licence, will likely be ruled ineligible for the sponsor licence. However, if you pass all of these suitability checks, you will be ruled eligible for a sponsor licence. 
  2. Determine your licence “type”
    • There are two different “types” of licences for sponsorship: a Temporary Worker licence and a Worker Licence; you will apply for the licence that best reflects the nature of the worker that you want to hire. 
    • If you are trying to hire someone to work for you for a limited amount of time, you should apply for a Temporary Worker licence. Alternatively, if you are hiring a traditional worker, you should apply for a Worker Licence. 
  3. Select a sponsor management person from inside your company 
    • A requirement for visa sponsorship is that you designate several employees in your company to oversee the process for sponsorship. All of these people will have to use the sponsorship management system (SMS): 
      • Authorizing officer
      • Key contact
      • Level 1 user 
  4. Apply for and receive a sponsor licence for your company 
    • If your application for a sponsor licence is approved, you will receive a licence rating, which will empower you to grant foreign employees certificates of sponsorship. 
  5. Make sure that your employee meets the requirements that pertain to his or her specific UK work visa 
    • Remember that even if you have already received the sponsor licence, unless your employee meets their individual requirements for his or her respective visa, they will be ineligible for it—even if you receive a sponsor licence.  
  6. Assign your would-be employee a certificate of sponsorship 
    • Once your employee receives a certificate of sponsorship, he or she will be able to use the unique number on their certificate in order to apply online for their specific visa. 
  7. Maintain your licence
    • Attend to your sponsorship obligations in order to maintain your licence throughout the four-year validity period. 

FAQs about the requirements to recruit from outside the UK

  • How to get a job in the UK as a foreigner?
    • How to get a job in the UK as a foreigner depends on a variety of factors, including whether you are already in the country, the type of employment you seek, and your immigration status. Many UK companies advertise for jobs online, through various employment-seeking websites. Anyone can view and apply for these jobs, provided they have internet access. In addition to browsing available UK jobs online, you may also find yourself contacted by recruiters for UK companies, who are searching for someone with your advertised skillset. Even if you can enter the UK without a visa, the majority of foreigners require a visa in order to work in the country—especially those who are from countries outside of the EU. This means that you will likely need to receive a visa (often requiring sponsorship from your employee) in order to enter the country. Paradoxically, you may need to obtain a guaranteed offer of employment in order to apply for the visa you need (in order to assume your employment position in the UK). Different jobs are eligible for different visas, so you will need to research the visa that best fits your employment and immigration needs, and be sure that you meet the specific job requirements outlined in the listing.
  • Do UK companies hire foreign workers?
    • Yes, UK companies hire foreign workers; there are currently millions of foreigners working across the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales). UK companies looking to hire foreigners have specific guidelines that they must follow for the hiring process. Many UK companies enable the immigration of foreign workers to the UK by sponsoring them (many foreigners must obtain sponsorship in order to come to the UK to work at a company there).
  • Is it easy to get a job in UK for foreigners?
    • Compared to other countries, it is pretty easy to get a job in the UK for foreigners. Foreigners looking to come to the UK in order to work there will find the process relatively straightforward. The rules for employment-based immigration are clearly stated and general information about applying for visas is readily available. Those who correctly research the application process for UK immigration, meet all of the eligibility requirements, and submit a complete application on time, should be successful in applying to work and live in the country.

As mentioned above, thousands of foreigners travel to the UK every year on work visas in order to be employed in the country. The UK offers competitive salaries and excellent professional opportunities for foreigners who meet the various visa requirements. If you are someone who is considering immigrating for professional reasons, you should strongly consider applying for a position in the UK. Contact us here if you are looking for jobs in the UK for foreigners (either as a would-be UK employer or hopefull foreign employee). 

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