SkillClear: Navigating UK immigration to secure the best overseas talent

How can UK employers ensure that they can recruit the best talent from overseas post-Brexit, when the Home Office is under pressure to curb immigration numbers? SkillClear shares some valuable insights.

SkillClear: Navigating UK Immigration to secure the best overseas talent
UK Immigration is a politically sensitive matter in the UK as it is in many countries. There is much publicised about the problems associated with work permits and other processes but despite this and the pressure on the Home Office to curb numbers, there are several good programmes available for UK employers to secure the employees they need.This article serves as an at-a-glance tool for UK employers and is designed to advise on the options available to expand their potential hiring pool.

Point Based System tiers 

  1. Although Tier 1 General of the Points Based System and the Post Study Work (PSW) Visa have been closed to new applicants for a while, there are still a good number of people in the UK on these visa types. Tier 1 General can only now be converted to Permanent Residence and such visa holders are viable prospects. The Post Study Work Visa cannot be extended but can convert to a Work Permit Tier 2 General much more easily than for other applicants.
  1. Tier 2 of the Points Based System has capped the hiring of migrants from outside the EU and made the process very expensive. For this reason, UK employers can be put off and consequently, the cap has never been reached. Those with the stomach for the expense do have the option to hire skilled workers on an appropriate salary from outside the EU and this can be made much simpler that it seems. Things are a little easier if they are transferring from an overseas branch of your company or if they are already here as a Student or similar. The process includes obtaining and operating a Sponsor Licence and it is vital to get this right first time for two very solid reasons:
    • If an application is rejected you will lose any costs you have incurred
    • you will not be able to re-apply for 6 months, perhaps putting an end to a realistic hire. The authorities have also decided to take a ridiculous amount of time to release the available permit in the first instance, again creating timing problems for the hiring process.
It is vital to get good advice, plan ahead and stay in line with sponsor guidance throughout your time as a sponsor. This can be a very viable option but it is rarely successful without professional advice. 

Types of visas

  1. If a prospective employee is married to or in an unmarried relationship with a UK or EU national or anyone who has permanent residence here, there is a possibility they can obtain a Family Based Visa with the right to work full time for any UK employer permanently or on contract. This is subject to a financial requirement.
  1. If a prospective employee is a national of Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea or Taiwan and they are under 31 years of age, they can obtain a Working Holiday Visa with the right to come and work in the UK for two years.
  1. If a prospective employee is a Commonwealth national and has a grandparent born in the UK, they can obtain an Ancestry Visa with the right to work here for three years and more
  1. If a prospective employee is a Student in the UK, they are already allowed to work for between 10-20 hours a week during term time and full time in the holidays

Other options

  1. If a non-EU national currently works in a fairly senior capacity for an overseas company, that company can post them here to start a UK branch. This means that they can contract with your UK company
  1. If a non-EU national has access to between £50,000 and £200,000, they can come to start a business and contract with your UK company
  1. If a non-EU national has access to £1 million or more, they can come to invest in your UK company and work for/with you
  1. Anyone who is here in the UK as a Permanent Residence is a viable prospect
  1. Anyone who is here in the UK as the dependant of someone here as a Points Based System Visa holder (and some other types of visa) can also work full time
So there are perhaps more options open to you than you thought.Here at Skillclear we have been arranging the right to work for thousands of skilled people for the last 15 years.So do get in touch with us at  or call 0845 680 1100 to discuss how you may be able to hire the full range of people for your business.