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Hiring from outside the UK for your UK startup

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by Startacus Admin

Hiring employees from outside of the UK for your startup
Charlotte Ashton
, Head of Business Immigration at MLP Law explains the most common options for hiring a skilled individual from outside the UK for your UK startup.

Charlotte Ashton MLP LawA common issue for start-ups is recruiting the right people. This is hard enough when trying to ensure you bring on board people who can fit into your small business and share your values and ideals, but can be even more tricky when you are recruiting for a role where the skills required are in short supply. Unemployment in the UK is currently extremely low, which can also add to the problem.

Where there is an issue in finding the appropriate people for the role in the UK, or EEA, it is possible to recruit from outside the UK. There are a few ways to do this. The most common, and normally most appropriate way, is to sponsor a to come to the UK to do the role in question.

To sponsor someone for a job, a business needs to hold a Tier 2 sponsor licence. The business must apply for one from the Home Office and will need to show that they are a genuine business operating in the UK, they are able to comply with obligations placed on sponsors, and that there is a genuine need to recruit migrant workers. A business also needs to show that there is no one in the UK (or EEA) who can do the role and that the role is classed by the Government as skilled enough for sponsorship. Finally, there is a minimum salary threshold, which depends on the job but is generally at least £30,000.

Sponsorship can be a useful way to get niche skilled individuals into your business but it does come with a number of obligations which can seem hiring from outside UK for your startupsoverwhelming for a small business. Taking advice in the planning stages is vital and can help you navigate the process more smoothly.

If sponsorship is not an option, individuals in the UK on Tier 4 student or Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visas can be employed without the employer needing to sponsor them. Students are limit to the number of hours they can work during term time and cannot take up permanent positions but it can be a useful option if there is someone with a particular set of skills you require on a short term basis. Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa holders have been endorsed as being experts or potential future experts in a specific field, which includes, for example, science, engineering, and digital technology. Individuals on this visa are free to work for any employer, be self-employed or set up their own business.

Finally, one option that might be attractive to start ups, is seeking out individuals who are looking to invest in business in the UK. These individuals can apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa if they are investing £200,000 in a business that they will then run. This can provide a start up with a good level of investment along with someone who has the skills and acumen to help drive the business to the next level.

Key to any recruitment from outside the UK is understanding your options early and working with people who can connect you to the right talent.

If you would like any further information please contact Charlotte Ashton, Head of Business Immigration at MLP Law –

If you are looking for other relevant startup and recruitment focused tips articles, you might want to read:


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Published on: 28th June 2018

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