Three main changes affecting recruitment from 1st January 2021

These changes are happening regardless of the outcome of negotiations

The UK left the EU in January this year and the Brexit transition period will end in less than a month on 31 December. As a result, there are guaranteed changes ahead for businesses, including changes in the recruitment process, and there are a number of steps you can take now to ensure you are prepared for new rules from 1 January 2021.

These changes are happening regardless of the outcome of negotiations, so it’s advised you familiarise yourself with what you need to do to prepare for the new rules and start taking action now. A wealth of resources can be found on, and the Brexit transition checker tool provides a tailored response on the actions you need to take.

Outlined below are three main changes affecting recruitment from 1 January:


The way you hire from the EU is changing. From 1 January 2021, if you want to hire anyone from outside the UK, you must be a Home Office licenced sponsor. As a sponsor, you will be able to hire people from anywhere in the world who meet the minimum skill, salary and language requirements to qualify for a visa. To check the new requirements and apply for a sponsor license, go to

Earlier this month, the Government launched a number of routes under the UK’s new Points-Based Immigration System, including the flagship Skilled Worker route. This means people can now start to apply for their visas. Those wanting to come to the UK to work from 1 January 2021 will be awarded points for a job offer at the appropriate skill level, if they speak English, and for meeting the appropriate salary threshold. Skilled worker visas will be awarded to those who gain enough points.

EU nationals living in the UK before 31 December 2020 should apply for ‘settled or pre-settled status’ through the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living and working in the UK. They have until 30 June 2021 to apply, and employers are encouraged to signpost their employees to the scheme.

As a transition measure, employers can continue to accept passports and national identity cards of EU Citizens as evidence of their right to work, up until 30 June 2021. However, some EU Citizens may choose to evidence their right to work using digital status obtained by the Home Office, instead of using their passport or ID card. Further information on how to undertake an online right to work check can be found on

Data Protection

If you are a UK business or organisation that receives personal data from contacts in the EU or wider EEA, prepare now to keep data flowing lawfully from 1 January 2021. Visit GOV.UK/using-personal-data-2021 for guidance on the actions your business or organisation needs to take regarding data protection and data flows.


You may need to have your UK professional qualification officially recognised if you want to work in a profession that is regulated in the EEA or Switzerland. It will need to be recognised by the appropriate regulator for your profession in each country where you intend to work, and you may need to do this even if you’re providing only temporary or occasional professional services. In some cases, your qualification may need to be recognised by a regional authority, rather than a national authority. For further guidance and information on this, click here.

The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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