Recruiting teachers from overseas after Brexit

Appointing teachers from overseas is already challenging, but post-Brexit it will be more complex and may take longer. Schools need to start preparing now.

Make sure you are ready

The ongoing challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic have meant that the fast approaching Brexit date on 31st December has not been high on the agenda for many organisations, especially schools. It is well known that teacher recruitment can be challenging and schools often look to recruit from the EU to fill general, or hard to fill posts, such as modern foreign language teachers.

While movement across borders is less likely during the pandemic, schools will need to be prepared for when things start moving again. There will be many changes as a result of Brexit and schools looking to recruit staff from outside the UK and Ireland is one of them.

Becoming a sponsor

Following Brexit, a new points-based immigration system will operate from 1 January 2021. All overseas nationals arriving in the UK from this date, including those from the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland (excluding Ireland), will come under this new system.

Once this system is in place, to recruit a teacher from overseas you will either need to apply to become a sponsor or the applicant will need to be working on a graduate visa, youth mobility visa or have an appropriate family visa.

Applications for sponsorship licences can be applied for now and as they may take up to 8 weeks or longer to be considered this should be built into your recruitment timescales.

EEA, EU and Swiss workers living and working in the UK prior to 1 January 2021 will not need a visa but will need to apply for Settled Status by 30 June 2021.

Be prepared

If you are already a licensed sponsor, you will automatically be granted a licence under the points-based immigration system. If you need to apply to become a new sponsor, there is a detailed process you must follow.

There is step by step guidance available, including details of fees for licences and which supporting documents you must supply. You will also need to think about who will be responsible for overseeing this process within your school.

Planning ahead

It is more important than ever to plan your recruitment processes well in advance, particularly those which may attract overseas candidates. Even after you have selected an overseas candidate for a vacancy, there are additional pre-employment checks that must be completed to ensure they are appropriately qualified and suitable to work with children. So a long lead in time will be required.

Useful links

UK Government – Recruit teachers from overseas

UK Government – UK visa sponsorship – employers

UK Government – Supporting documents for sponsor applications

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