How Field Service Companies can Hire EU Nationals in the UK Post-Brexit
As more experienced and seasoned field service technicians approach retirement age in the UK, the ageing workforce threatens to severely impact around 70% of organisations within the next five to ten years. So, with a shortage of younger people to fill the empty roles, field service businesses will need to look to the EU to find the talent they need.
However, since Free Movement ended on 31 December 2020, the government now requires anyone coming into the UK to prove their eligibility to work via a points-based system.
In this article, we’ll break down the steps and explain how you can hire EU nationals in the UK post-Brexit. Plus, we’ll share how field service management technology helps you manage your entire workforce.
How to Hire Candidates from the EU
1. Check that You Can Legally Hire from the EU
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Before you can begin hiring European nationals, you must first check that your business is eligible. If you were already a licensed Tier 2 or Tier 5 sponsor on 30 November 2020, your licence would have automatically been transferred to the new system.
However, if you don’t already have a sponsor license, you must apply for one. Remember, although a license is a legal requirement, it does not automatically guarantee that your candidate will get a visa to work for you in the UK.
Certain groups do not require you to obtain a sponsor license:
- Irish citizens
- People with indefinite leave to remain in the UK
- People with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
Ensuring that your business is eligible to hire from the EU before you attempt to hire will make the process much smoother. Once you have a license, you can start hiring people from outside the UK.
2. Ensure the People You Want to Hire Meet the Requirements
There are two main routes that a worker can take to enter the UK, which we will explore below. For both routes, there are certain requirements that the candidate must meet:
1. Skilled Workers
To hire someone outside the UK as a skilled worker, they will need to demonstrate the following:
- They have a job offer from you — a Home Office licensed sponsor
- They speak English at the required level (B1)
- The job offer you have provided them with is at the level of skill needed of RQF3 or above (equivalent to A level)
- Their salary will be at least £25,600 or the standard rate for the job offer, whichever is higher
2. Intra-Company Transfers
If you want to transfer an employee from an overseas part of your organisation to work for you in the UK, they can apply for an Intra-Company Transfer. Those who are transferring will need to:
- Be existing workers who will undertake roles that meet the skills and salary thresholds
- Receive sponsorship as an Inter-Company Transfer by you — a Home Office licensed sponsor
- Have at least 12 months’ experience working for an overseas company linked by ownership to the business they’ll work for in the UK
- Accept a role at the required skill level of RQF6 or above (equivalent to graduate level)
- Earn a salary of at least £41,500 or the standard rate for the job, whichever is higher
It’s worth noting that Intra-Company Transfers are temporary. People can be assigned to work in the UK multiple times, but they aren’t permitted to stay for more than five years across a six-year period.
Different rules apply for graduate trainees or anyone paid over £73,900, which you can learn more about here.
How to Carry out a ‘Right-to-Work’ Check
As an employer, you will need to check that job applicants have the right to work in the UK before you hire them; otherwise, you risk being liable for a civil penalty. Workers will need to meet a minimum of 70 points to be eligible.
There are two types of ‘right-to-work’ checks: manual and online.
- Manual: You can use a manual check on UK and Irish citizens who may use their passports as proof of eligibility. You will also need to complete a manual check for anyone who doesn’t have an online immigration status, for example, eVisa.
- Online: An online check applies to individuals who only hold an eVisa, which applies to most EU citizens. To carry out an online check, you’ll need the applicant’s birth date and share code.
You must not discriminate when conducting right-to-work checks. To read the Home Office’s statutory codes of practice, click here.
Managing Your New Hires with Field Service Management Technology
Now you know how to hire candidates from outside the UK, you can rest assured that your business-as-usual activities won’t be affected by the looming talent shortage.
But, whilst a strong team of talented employees is the first step to maintaining a competitive business in a skill-short industry, how do you ensure they’re providing outstanding services to your customers?
That’s where field service management (FSM) software comes in.
With FSM technology, you can see who is working for you, when and where. Additionally, you can make sure that everyone delivers consistent services to your clients by equipping your technicians with an integrated mobile app. The app gives workers all the information they need to complete the job the first time round and provides them with mandatory workflow documents that ensure the work is being carried out to your high standards.
Then, once your technicians have completed their jobs, you can gather feedback from your clients via an automated customer satisfaction survey. With such vital data at hand, you can make continuous improvements to your business that impress your customers and set you apart from your competitors.
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