Blog post written by Brabners LLP
The Home Office has recently set out its “New Plan for Immigration” which sets out how the Government intends to make improvements to the UK’s immigration system to ensure the UK has ‘a world-leading border and migration system.’ Here we look at the changes the Home Office intend to implement by 2025 and the impact it will have on the recruitment sector.
The end of free movement meant huge changes for umbrella companies and their employees. It is clear from this report that the pace of change is not slowing and that the UK’s immigration requirements will continue to develop. It is vitally important that umbrellas remain up to date with these changes and the impact they may have on their businesses.
For example, the Home Office have launched a number of new immigration routes over the past 12 months. The latest of these, the Scale-up Route, was launched on 22 August 2022. Eligibility focuses around ‘scale-up’ businesses that have ten or more employees and are growing at 20% more in turnover every year, for three years. The idea is to target the UK’s top high-growth businesses and assist them in attracting skilled overseas talent to grow and develop their business.
The New Plan describes the intention to implement a digital border by the end of 2025. The government proposes to digitalise the full ‘customer journey’; to move away from providing physical documents and to replace them with a fully online immigration system. The report makes clear that the digital border will be balanced with ensuring risks of exploitation and security are minimised. The hope is that technology will reflect private sector customer service with the use of chatbots and voicebots to try and help resolve queries more quickly. The Home Office is looking to build on the digital immigration system that already exists and be the world’s leader in a modern border.
The New Plan also emphasises the need for simplification. The Home Office are implementing the Law Commission’s recommendations and working with the Law Commission to make the immigration rules more understandable for all users and to consolidate the immigration legislation. It is hoped that by making the rules more accessible, it will increase legal certainty and transparency for applicants and build trust and public confidence. More specifically, the Home Office plan to simplify the family, private life and settlement routes by introducing a more streamlined application process.
Impact on Recruitment Sector
In summary, the New Plan sets out how the Home Office plan to make things simpler, more digital and streamlined. These changes will no doubt help direct recruitment and make things easier for businesses looking to sponsor overseas workers.
However, whilst these developments are welcome for all organisations, the New Plan fails to address one of the key issues faced in the recruitment sector, namely that it is not currently permitted to use the sponsored work routes to sponsor individuals and supply them as temporary workers to another organisation (except in certain very limited and prescriptive circumstances). This means that umbrella companies will often find they can only use the sponsored work routes to sponsor non-UK national workers who will work for them directly. As such, many of the current immigration routes are of limited applicability for umbrellas or their employees working for clients. There is, unfortunately, nothing in the New Plan which would suggest that this rule is under review or going to be changed in the near future.
This bulletin is for general guidance purposes only and should not be used for any other purpose.
Brabners is a Limited Liability Partnership