Belated Happy New Year

Posted on 18 Jan 2021
Belated Happy New Year

It feels late to be saying Happy New Year, but at the same time weird not to! My newsletter this month is  a week later than normal as I unfortunately contracted Covid over the Christmas and New Year period. Back to work and almost fighting fit now, thankful that I was able to manage it at home.

2021 hasn't exactly got off to the bright start we'd hoped for has it? That said there is positive news out there, though it may be suppressed as it just doesn't feel right somehow to shout about successes.

Locally our hospitality providers continued to be hit hard by the government's restrictive measures. Non essential retail, health and beauty have also been subjected to the tough restrictions. With the vaccine roll out in flow, it feels as though there is some light at the end of the tunnel - though it also feels like someone keeps making that tunnel longer!

Recruitment continues to be suppressed as you can imagine, there is a market, but it is slower and more languid than it usually is at this time of year. No surprises here.

At Aspire we continue to deliver the same thorough service we always have, always one eye on the future for when this nightmare starts to subside, we'll be ready to step up to the challenges our clients will face in terms of recruitment. I'm making a point of catching up with clients through video calls at the moment, it's important for me to understand what is going on out there, so I'm fully ready to jump to action for you when the time comes.

Something to consider, especially for those who have previously selected their staff from the pool of European labour that was freely available. On December 31st 2020 freedom of movement between the UK and EU ended.  There's been an awful lot going on in the press and media and we've had a whole lot of 'stuff' to deal with. There's been a significant shift in UK policy and I thought it worth reminding clients of what they need to do:

To hire someone from outside the UK, excluding Irish citizens, the job you are advertising must meet the minimum skill and salary thresholds:

  • The minimum skill level will be set at RQF3 (equivalent to A level)
  • The minimum salary threshold will be the higher of £25,600 or the ‘going rate’ for that job – some employees may be paid less than £25,600, for example if their job is in a shortage occupation.
  • Any applicants from outside the UK must also meet English language requirements.

Before applying to be a sponsor you should:

  • Check that the people you want to hire will meet the requirements for coming to the UK for work
  • Check your business is eligible

To apply, you will need to:

  1. Choose the type of skilled worker licence you want to apply for
  2. Put appropriate systems in place to act as a sponsor
  3. Apply online and pay the fee

People coming to work in the UK will need to meet certain requirements:

  • A job offer from an approved sponsor
  • That job offer must be at the required skill and salary level
  • They must speak English at the required level
  • You will need to apply to be a licensed sponsor
  • You’ll usually have a decision within 8 weeks
  • Being a sponsor allows you to recruit skilled workers globally for 4 years

All applicants will be able to trade characteristics, such as their qualifications, against a lower salary to get the required number of points. If the job offer is less than the minimum salary requirement, but no less than £20,480, an applicant may still be eligible if they have:

  • A job offer in a specific shortage occupation
  • A PhD relevant to the job
  • A PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job

There are different salary rules for workers in certain health or education jobs, and for ’new entrants‘ at the start of their careers.

Employers also need to be aware that the new system will not apply to EU employees already working for you in the UK.  So, if you have any EU citizens and their family members living in the UK by 31 December 2020 they need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.  You also need to make them aware that those eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme must apply by 30 June 2021. 

I can see this significantly impacting various industries such as hospitality (when it’s back up and running properly), healthcare and manufacturing. My advice would be to take a look at the Government website and familiarise yourself with the rules now, to avoid any unnecessary delays in hiring.

As always, I'm here to help, please call or email me with any questions you may have.