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5 tips to remember when hiring international talent

Many SME managers find themselves at a loss when they begin to hire international talent. Here are a few tips to help the process along.
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According to a survey carried out by PeoplePerHour, one in five small business managers have a workforce made up of at least three different nationalities. With international talent offering a wider range of skillsets and specialisms than local talent in certain cases, many businesses are consistently choosing to hire from international labour pools.

This guide breaks down some of the issues which employers in this position might face when hiring international talent.

1. Know the job role

Before you advertise or search for international talent, it is vital that you understand exactly what the job you are looking to fill is. While this sounds straightforward, when it comes to hiring international talent, there are a few reasons you should pay extra attention to outlining the vacant job role.

The first is that if the job title or role shifts or changes once a visa-holding employee has taken up their position, your company could face penalties from the Home Office. So, the title and role performed by a work visa holder must match those they perform when they fill the position.

The second reason is that the immigration requirements for your prospective employee will vary depending on the type of role (permanent, temporary, skilled etc) they are filling, which means your requirements as an employer will also vary.

2. Know about your Sponsor Licence

Knowing whether you need a Sponsor Licence, and which one you will need, is often difficult and there are several deciding factors involved. Any individual from within the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, is eligible to work anywhere within the EU free from visa regulation. If you are solely looking to hire from within the EU labour pool, you will not need a Sponsor Licence.

However, anyone from outside this area will be restricted by immigration laws and will need to be sponsored by a UK employer. The only exception to this rule applies when the prospective employee is of exceptional skill in their area and qualifies for a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa.

The most common type of Sponsor Licence used to employ non-EEA workers is a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, which applies when the individual being hired is permanent and skilled. Alternately, if the role you are advertising is temporary, and in a select creative or charitable role, you may need a Tier 5 Sponsor Licence. In both cases, an application for a Sponsor Licence usually takes around six-eight weeks to process.

3. Be patient

Before you can offer a position to anyone from outside the EEA, the job role must be advertised for a minimum of 28 consecutive days to residential (UK & EEA) talent. This process is known as the Residential Labour Market Test (RLMT) and, while it can be frustrating for employers who want to secure a candidate quickly, it can also be useful in ensuring that you are in need of non-residential talent.

One exception of this rule to bear in mind is if the role you are offering is in shortage in the UK. If this is the case, the RLMT is automatically bypassed and you can proceed with sponsoring your Tier 2 employee without having to wait.

4. Be fair

Just as with the job role, if the Home Office discover a discrepancy between the employers’ salary and the salary they receive once they fill the role, you could face either a financial or judicial penalty or have your licence suspended or revoked. Be sure the salary proposed in the initial job offer is the same as the one they receive.

5. Stay organised

Once your new employee has started work it is important to stay on top of your paperwork. This includes keeping up-to-date employment records for all migrant employees, such as evidence of pay, record of their tasks and responsibilities and any absences.

The Home Office reserve the right to visit your business and perform an immigration audit if they want to check whether you are upholding your sponsorship duties, and if they find any gaps or issues with your employment records or HR practices you may receive a penalty or lose your overseas employers.

Luna Williams is a correspondent and content writer from the Immigration Advice Service, specialists in Sponsor Licence guidance and immigration consultation

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