Ward Hadaway Fastest 50: How to Recruit Effectively from Overseas

Ward Hadaway’s immigration specialist partner Flora Mewies today gives advice on embracing a globalised workforce and how to recruit effectively from overseas.
Ward Hadaway’s immigration specialist partner Flora MewiesWard Hadaway’s immigration specialist partner Flora Mewies
Ward Hadaway’s immigration specialist partner Flora Mewies

In today’s business environment, where operations span continents and attracting the best talent can bring huge rewards, it’s clear that a multinational workforce creates many opportunities, from accessing a larger talent-pool to unlocking diverse thinking.

This year Ward Hadaway’s Fastest 50 Awards, which celebrate Yorkshire’s fastest growing businesses, highlighted the global ambitions and international footprint of our region’s high-flying enterprises. 

In many cases, global expansion means engaging a multinational workforce, which involves understanding and navigating the international recruitment process - something that might seem complex for a business when they haven’t been through it before. 

However, by working with the right immigration law expert, businesses can successfully navigate these challenges, benefiting from the diverse skills and fresh ideas that a multinational team brings.

Recruiting from overseas opens the door to a wealth of global talent and innovative perspectives that can significantly enhance a company's capabilities and market competitiveness. 

Ward Hadaway’s immigration specialist, partner Flora Mewies, works closely with businesses in Yorkshire and beyond, to help them navigate complex immigration rules and recruit from overseas successfully.

Here, she provides advice on managing the process effectively. 

Understand Visa Requirements

A crucial factor in effective international recruitment is understanding the UK's visa system. The Skilled Worker Visa is the primary route for employers looking to hire from outside the UK's settled workforce.

However, several specialist visas exist such as the Scale-up Visa, designed for rapidly growing businesses, and the Global Talent Visa, for individuals recognised as leaders or potential leaders in their fields, which offer tailored pathways for businesses to attract international expertise.

In the last few years, the landscape of immigration law has shifted. New regulation is being passed regularly.

For example, from 4 April 2024, the minimum salary threshold for eligibility under the Skilled Worker job route will increase from £26,200 to £38,700 per year (with some crucial exemptions).

Since February 2024, the civil penalty for a business employing someone who does not have the right to work in the UK, even if they have unintentionally hired an employee illegally, increased from £20,000 to £60,000. 

Recruitment Strategies in a Post-Brexit World

Brexit has undoubtedly altered the landscape for UK businesses, introducing new complexities in recruiting from the European Union (EU) and beyond.

However, it also presents a renewed impetus to explore the global talent pool. The key to success involves not only recognising the legal requirements of post-Brexit recruitment but realising what they mean in reality. 

Before the UK left the EU, if colleagues based in Germany, Spain or Poland employed by a Leeds-based company, for example, needed to attend a meeting in the UK, they simply could book a flight and go.

However, now when arriving in the UK they are automatically receiving a Visitor Visa that has special conditions in terms of specific activities they’re legally allowed to carry out whilst in the UK.

The Visitor rules were recently changed in January 2024, allowing international colleagues to work remotely in the UK and the scope of permitted activities is being expanded for various professions during their visits to the UK.

For example, scientists, researchers, and academics now have expanded opportunities to carry out research in the UK during their visit.

Specific rules continue to apply, and are evolving, so it’s important to keep abreast of them and how they impact your business and workforce. 

The Future of Work: Embracing International Talent

The future of work is inherently international and northern businesses are well-placed to lead the way.

The global talent pool is vast and varied, and with the right approach and legal support, companies can attract the best and brightest, and continue to innovate, drive growth and compete internationally. 

To seize this opportunity, it's essential to engage with legal professionals who help businesses through each stage of the visa process and ensure compliance.

By fully understanding visa requirements and the benefits of a diverse workforce, your business can reap the rewards of a globalised team.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Don't let the complexities of international recruitment hold your business back.

Seek expert advice to understand the legal requirements that apply to your business when recruiting from overseas.

This ensures that your recruitment practices remain compliant, mitigating risks of legal complications and fines, whilst accessing the best global talent.

The Ward Hadaway Visa Guidelines Hub provides a comprehensive online resource designed to help businesses in navigating the complexities of UK immigration processes. It provides detailed guidance on various visas, including criteria, application procedure and the latest updates to immigration law.  Visit the hub at www.wardhadaway.com/visa-guidelines. 

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