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With Brexit deadlines getting closer, and the pandemic still disrupting our daily lives, we are faced with new and complex challenges throughout the industry.

To help keep you informed and up to date, K2 have launched a new webinar series, whereby every 2 weeks a live panel of in house experts will address the current landscape of global mobility, and discuss the latest updates and expectations regarding covid-19, Brexit, and international travel.

Our first webinar in the series took place on Wednesday 4th November.

The webinar gave updates from Global Immigration, with Susanna Wang, Regional Immigration Manager based in Sweden, UK Immigration, with Sandra Toppin and Simon Higson, UK Immigration Managers, Destination Services with Amanda Lillie, Head of Client Services Operations, and also Shipping/ Household Goods with Ken McCully, Group Commercial Manager.

The session was facilitated by Richard Rutledge, Executive Business Director, and Huw Thomas, UK Business Development Manager, who welcomed the attendees and gave an update from K2 and introduced the panellists.

To begin, Susanna Wang gave an update on how Brexit is expected to affect UK citizens residing in other UK countries, as of the 1st of January 2021, UK citizens will no longer be regarded as EU citizens in other EU countries. Susanna then looked at the restrictions and closed borders that we are seeing across the globe due to covid-19 and provided real time examples for Europe and Asia Pacific. Susanna also highlighted some key examples of exemptions to the travel restrictions, for example business travellers who are allowed entry, despite country-wide travel bans.

The webinar then heard from Sandra Toppin, who covered Brexit, Sponsorship Licenses and the New Points Based System. Starting with Brexit, Sandra reminded everyone that from the 1st of January, EU citizens will need to have in place the right permissions to work in the UK. Sandra suggested that in order to take advantage of the EU Settlement Scheme, try to bring forward any assignments that are due to take place early next year, to before December 31st 2020, if possible.

Sandra also explained what a Sponsorship Licence is, and reminded everyone that in order to employ EU nationals to work in the UK, employers must have a Sponsorship Licence in place- which K2 can help you with if needed. Finally, Sandra clarified what the New Points Based System entails, and explained that Sponsor Licence holders will be able to hire skilled workers to work in the UK. Sandra also detailed the different routes that are involved, what is required, maximum stay periods, and other nuances.

For more information on Brexit and how K2 can assist you, please visit our Brexit page.

Building upon this update from Sandra, Simon Higson then provided an update on UK Immigration with regards to covid-19 concessions. Simon informed everyone that a number of immigration rules have been relaxed owing to covid-19, and warned that there are significant delays in application processes, and the consequences of such delays to be aware of.

For example, Simon explained that usual reporting of absences under a sponsor licence has been relaxed, there will be no enforcement against absences if these are due to illness, isolation requirements, travel restrictions etc. With biometric centres closed, there are now various relaxations regarding the usual requirements. We have also seen a relaxation of rules regarding switching of visas and starting work before approvals have been processed and salary reduction allowances. Simon then finished his update by reminding the audience of the key dates to be aware of at this time.

In addition to Immigration (both global and UK), the webinar then heard from Amanda Lillie, who provided an insightful update on what we are seeing and experiencing in Destination Services. Amanda started by reflecting on the past 9-10 months, and detailed how globally we have all been in a state of flux and change, especially within relocation and service delivery. Amanda explained how the team have had to be constantly finding new and exciting ways to deliver our services, and this includes always keeping in line with local regulations and laws surrounding covid-19 and social distancing. For example providing virtual tours of properties and areas, and enforcing social distancing and PPE to our practice, which Amanda noted assignees have been very responsive to. Amanda explained that everyday things change, for example right now we can deliver services in Spain when we cannot in France, and although the UK is heading into lockdown, we have been advised that it is business as usual in terms of estate agents and the housing market.

Amanda concluded her update by explaining that although we do not yet know if Brexit will bring a deal or no deal, we are planning for no deal, and starting to think about what we will need to put in place in order to help our clients and assignees (such as drivers licences changes, insurance updates, right to rent checks). Amanda explained that these are all processes that we are used to doing, so we have the resources, but it’s the timings that we are unsure of, and therefore it is important to plan for contingency time.

Finally, the audience heard from Ken McCully, who gave an update on shipping and household goods. First Ken explained that for goods coming into the UK, we can expect the process to be the same as coming from outside of the EU (for example, coming from NYC to London). Ken spoke through the implications we can expect of Brexit on customs clearance, and noted that the British Association of Removers (B.A.R), are meeting with the UK government this week to clarify the expectation for export clearance, so hopefully we will get some more clarity soon. Ken also highlighted the likelihood of possible delays, and explained the initiation of the Kent Access Pass, and what the thinking is surrounding why this may be introduced, and how this would potentially reduce congestion through Kent and pressure at Dover. In terms of covid-19, despite the UK going into a second lock down, Ken explained how the B.A.R have advised that it will be business as usual for hauliers and removal companies; we will still be able to pack up and transport goods.

Ken also highlighted that here at K2 we have introduced a covid-19 checklist, to protect the safety of both the assignees, and the vendors, and continue to practice safe working with the use of social distancing, PPE and regular cleaning of vehicles and equipment.

The webinar concluded with a live Q&A with our panellists. To see an overview of the questions asked, please see below.

Watch a recording of this webinar.


I have an assignee who will need an extension application soon. It will be needed for end January 21. How different will the License application look in the new Skilled Worker route? How will I know I am applying through the correct place in our Sponsor Licence? 

Assuming you are on a Tier 2 ICT, you can continue under that category and extend. You may want to consider, as you are able to switch from an ICT to a Tier 2 skilled worker visa under the new category from January. It might be sensible to consider that. As Sandra mentioned, you will need to pass an English language test if that’s a requirement for your switch.

But under the skilled worker visa, you will start gathering time towards the possible indefinite leave to remain (ILR) application if that is something you are interested in.

Finally, if you’re currently on a Tier 2 general visa, all that will happen is that when the certificate of sponsorship is issued, it will be issued under the skilled worker visa, rather than a Tier 2 general; the name will just disappear, and it will switch into the skilled worker visa, and the extension will continue as normal. Bearing in mind that under the old Tier 2 general route, you could only apply for up to six years. I understand (full guidance hasn’t come out yet), but it is understood that under the skilled worker visa, there isn’t going to be a restriction of six years. But after five years in a qualifying visa you could be eligible for ILR, so that may be the better route to take.

From a relocation perspective, are there are any points we need to consider in relation to Brexit? Do you have any specific information on healthcare?

I would say timings definitely. If  your EU nationals need to come to the UK for instance, we’d need to ensure that they have their visas in place in order to rent a property to pass the right to rent checks (as an example).  So the timing of when they’re going to be coming over will change slightly. Are they going to be staying in serviced accommodation during their home search? Because most people were coming backwards and forwards across Europe. Especially maybe the French nationals where it was really easy. So potentially talking and thinking about more serviced accommodation for people coming in from Europe, if they need to be here in order to go out to do the right to rent check and find a property.

With regards to healthcare, this is one of the things that we’re waiting for the government to confirm and depending on a deal or no deal. Healthcare is certainly one of the streams that we’re looking at. At the moment, we have no answers from the government… sorry to say that, but that’s where we are! It is on our radar, along with everything else. We’re trying to find out from the relevant governing bodies where we’re at. But no answers yet.

The recommendation is to look at bringing assignments forward but is this possible under any current travel restrictions?

From an immigration point of view, bringing assignments forward to qualify for the EU settlement scheme before the end of the year is a good idea, as long as travel corridors are open, and you’re able to come to the UK.

Essentially, for qualification under the settlement scheme, as long as you have evidence that you are in the UK, before the 31st of December, 11 o’clock in the evening (and that can be evidenced literally by providing a travel ticket of entry to the UK) that will be sufficient.

To confirm, travel corridors are still open. People are still moving. We just need to be conscious that if you’re coming into the UK, there is 14 days quarantine period. Travel is of course limited, however we are able to house people and move people. The most challenging market that we are dealing with today (this may change) is Paris/ France, due to the strict lock down they have now entered.

We are here to help in any way we can

Should you need any additional information, consultation, or guidance on any of the above, please do contact us as we would be delighted to assist you.

Additionally, if you would like to have a virtual coffee with any of our experts, please contact us we would be happy to arrange this.

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