Emma Brooksbank, immigration law specialist at Simpson Millar, on recruiting workers from overseas.
1. Check whether the role you are seeking to fill from overseas appears on a ‘shortage’ list produced by the Home Office. This includes anything from civil engineers to scientists, nurses and ballet dancers.
2. Include the UK and Europe in your recruitment efforts, as in order to recruit from overseas into a non-shortage occupation, you will need to demonstrate that there are no other suitable workers.
3. Take advice on recruitment methods. As a general rule, the advert will need to be advertised on the Job Centre website and one other industry appropriate medium for 28 days in the preceding six months.
4. Ensure the role is a graduate role as defined by the Home Office.
5. Assess the salary offered. This needs to be at least £20,800 gross per annum.
6. Consider whether the role is for a new entrant or an experienced worker, as the salary threshold may be higher than the £20,800 for experienced workers.
7. Take advice early. The immigration rules are complex and difficult to follow, and an application can take months to conclude.
8. Know your workforce. A business found to be employing a person who does not have the right to work can be fined up to £20,000 per illegal worker and face criminal prosecution.
9. Keep good records including a copy of identity documents for every employee.
10. Consider seeking specialist advice if you have not recruited from overseas before. Mistakes can be costly and can delay essential recruitment.