Post-Brexit Deep Dive:
UK Work Authorisations Uncovered

Post-Brexit Deep Dive: UK Work Authorisations Uncovered

Last week’s blog post focused on required document checklists for business travel, and we shared that the third highest post-Brexit business travel compliance concern among our Brexit survey respondents is when a work permit is required. This week, we examine work authorisations in the UK and the top items you need to be aware of. Next week, we’ll explore work authorisations for UK nationals working in the EU.

What is “work authorisation” or a “work permit”?

Work authorisations allow foreign nationals to conduct activities which are considered work in a country. Obtaining a work permit is a more complex and time-consuming process than applying for a business visa – a larger number of required documents are needed, the process typically includes a series of application steps rather than a single consular visa application, and it is typically more expensive than getting a business visa.

It is important to note that the foreign national’s activities in a country are the primary determining factor on whether they will require a work permit or if they are eligible to stay as a business visitor. For example, a French citizen will typically need a work permit in the UK if they will engage in any work activities, even if their stay will be less than six months.

EU Nationals Working in the UK

Let’s say you’re a German national travelling to the UK to engage in work activities for your employer for three months. You’ve completed the Post-Brexit Travel Assessment and the results are that work authorisation is required to carry out your required activities in the UK. The Post-Brexit Travel Assessment will introduce you to our colleagues at CIBT’s Immigration Division, Newland Chase, who will review the work authorisation process with you.

Take the Assessment

In the UK, a new points-based immigration system became operative on 1 December 2020.

Under this new immigration system, anyone coming to the UK for work as a Skilled Worker or Intra-Company Transfer must meet specific sets of requirements that are assigned a points value. Work authorisation is then awarded to those who gain the required 70 points for Skilled Workers and 60 points for Intra-Company Transferees. The system has been billed as providing flexible arrangements for UK employers to recruit skilled workers from around the world through a number of different immigration routes. The two that are of particular relevance to us are the Skilled Worker route and the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) route.

Skilled Worker route

Under the Skilled Worker route, if a UK business wants to hire someone from outside the UK, the applicant will need to earn at least 70 points based on factors such as their job role, professional and educational background, language skills, and salary level. For example, an applicant could meet the 70 points with the following combination:

*there are different salary rules for workers in certain health or education jobs, or for specific shortage occupations.

**or evidence of having a degree-level academic qualification that was taught in English.

Note that there are other avenues through which an applicant could earn points, including holding a PhD relevant to their job or being employed in a shortage occupation.

The Skilled Worker route has no maximum limit on the allowed stay in the UK and holders are eligible for permanent residence (settlement) after five lawful and continuous years of residence in the UK.

Intra-Company Transfer route

The Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) route allows multinational organisations to facilitate temporary moves into the UK for key business personnel through their subsidiary branches, subject to ICT sponsorship requirements being met. The Intra-Company Transfer route requires the applicant to earn at least 60 points as follows:

The ICT route allows a maximum stay of five years in any six-year period on a rolling basis, or nine years in any 10-year period for ICT permit holders who earn more than £73,900 annually. ICT permit holders are not eligible for settlement in the UK, but can apply to switch into the Skilled Worker route, if eligible, and pursue settlement via that status.

UK Business Sponsor Needs

A UK business that employs anyone from outside the UK will be required to obtain a sponsor licence issued by the UK Home Office. This includes employing citizens of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland who arrived in the UK after 31 December 2020. The standard processing time for sponsor applications is currently eight weeks (subject to change).

It is critical that businesses develop processes for evaluating proposed business visitors, including an assessment of the permissible business activities, to ensure compliance with UK immigration rules. Protect yourself, your organisation, and your travelling population from non-compliant consequences as travel resumes with the Post-Brexit Travel Assessment.

Adapting to the New Immigration Landscape – What You Can Do to Prepare
  • Allocate budget for work authorisation applications.
  • Educate your teams about what a Business Visitor is lawfully able to do in the UK and in EU member states and when work authorisations may be required.
  • Contact your dedicated CIBTvisas Account Manager to address your concerns and ensure your travel program is in compliance with the new travel landscape.

CIBTvisas stands ready to support you and your travel program. We’re offering new tools such as the Post-Brexit Business Travel Assessment. Contact your dedicated CIBTvisas Account Manager today for more information. Don’t have an Account Manager? Contact us.

This publication is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. Readers are reminded that immigration laws are subject to change. We are not responsible for any loss arising from reliance on this publication. Please contact CIBTvisas or Newland Chase should you require any additional clarification or case specific advice.

CIBTvisas is part of CIBT, the leading global provider of immigration and visa services for corporations and individuals with expert immigration and visa professionals, attorneys and qualified migration consultants located in over 70 offices in 25 countries.

With thirty years of experience, CIBT is the primary service provider to 75% of Fortune 500 companies. CIBT offers a comprehensive suite of services under two primary brands: Newland Chase, a wholly owned subsidiary focused on global immigration strategy and advisory services for corporations worldwide and CIBTvisas, the market leader for business and other travel visa services for corporate and individual clients.

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