Pilot scheme launched in UK for small businesses hiring from outside Europe

by Ray Clancy on September 25, 2013

A three-month pilot scheme has been launched in the UK to provide online support for small and medium-sized businesses who want to hire someone from outside of the European Economic Area.

It is also helpful for people who want to start their own business in the UK and need information on what kind of visa they might need.

UK London

The scheme is to provide support for businesses looking to hire from outside the EEA as well as those who want to start a business in the UK.

The pilot is being run by UK Visas and Immigration in partnership with the Greater London Authority (GLA) and is aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises who need to recruit skilled international employees to help build their business.

A toolkit of information has been made available through the GLA website which includes a simple overview of the process of sponsoring an overseas worker, a best practice guide, and some frequently asked questions, with access to expert help from the Home Office for complex issues or queries.

Everyone from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) needs a visa, essentially entry clearance, to work in the UK. There is a list of EEA countries and special cases, for example Croatia, and most workers will probably need to be sponsored by an employer.

Some workers from outside Europe may already be entitled to a visa or have permission to work because they’re married to a British or European citizen, are accompanying someone sponsored to work in the UK, or have British ancestors.

Non-EEA nationals who want to start a business in the UK may be entitled to apply for an entrepreneur visa. This kind of visa is for those who want to invest in the UK by setting up or taking over, and being actively involved in the running of, a business or businesses.

Some students on a Tier 4 visa have limited rights to work in the UK. Again, employers need to check if they’re permitted to work and for how many hours per week.

It is also possible that an employer may still need to sponsor someone even if they’re already working in the UK for another company. For example, if someone is on a Tier 2 or Tier 5 visa they’ll need to make a new application with their new employer as their sponsor.

Some people may have to leave the UK before they can apply to work for a new employer. It also may be necessary to switch visa categories depending on circumstances. For example, some Tier 2 employees may not be able to leave their company to work for another without leaving the UK for a year or more.


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