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How SMEs Can Hire Workers From Overseas


Small businesses who operate in a niche industry may find it harder than most to recruit the right staff. Skills shortages are not uncommon these days, particularly in areas such as manufacturing and technology. If you run a small business that is in such a position, it may be worth looking further afield to get the skilled staff needed to make your company more profitable.


Hiring workers from abroad does involve a little more work than needed to recruit a British national. The amount of paperwork needed is greater, both for you as the employer and your prospective new employee. Firstly, you must check if person you want to hire is eligible to work in the UK.

Until the UK officially leaves the EU, workers with a passport from one of the 27 EU member states can work here. This is because the UK is, at the time of writing, part of the Schengen Area, allowing EU citizens to work anywhere in the area. Post-Brexit, the rules are likely to be the same as they are for hiring non-EU workers, requiring a visa at the very least.

Getting a Visa

You may need to get a work permit for your employee if they need one. To get a work permit, you need to make sure that your new staff member has a work visa depending on how long they are working for you. The types of visa on offer include:

  • Tier 1 Visas – these are the most common and are for longer-term stays
  • Tier 2 Visas – these apply to workers staying for up to five years
  • Tier 5 Visas – these come into play for temporary jobs


The legal aspect of hiring workers from abroad is one that must be addressed. Without every single piece of paperwork signed and verified, it will become impossible to hire them. If in doubt, consult legal experts like Withers Worldwide on immigration law. In case of a dispute over your employee’s right to work here, a little extra help can make a big difference.

Getting it Right

To hire your new worker from abroad, you cannot afford to make any mistakes. Make sure that you’re able to get all the relevant paperwork in place in relation to tax, National Insurance and work permits. The worker should hold up their side of the bargain too, with their visa and passport.

See what you can do to help them if they’re stuck. There’s every chance that they could become your best employee, so it’s worth lending a hand with helping them to settle into your business.


Author: joinengland

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