According to the job search engine Adzuna, more than 72,000 vacancies across the UK have been marked with ‘urgent’ or requiring an ‘immediate start’ between May and July. This is following the increase in the number of workers being ‘pinged’ from the NHS Track and Trace. With almost half of the South-West’s regions sitting on or above the England average for reported Covid19 cases, the impact to the region’s businesses has been a major factor in the increase in urgent recruitment.

Whilst it is positive that unemployment in the South-West is down to 4.8%, it means there are now less applicants filling the ever-increasing amount of urgent vacancies. A quick search on Indeed highlights over 150 ‘immediate start’ roles being advertised in Gloucestershire alone since the start of August – with Warehouse Operatives and Delivery Drivers taking up the bulk of the advertised roles.

Looking back further it is also easy to see that many advertised positions are still being advertised and readvertised for weeks on end, highlighting a talent shortage of those applying for these roles. As the economy picks up and restrictions continue to ease, some may have expected for a huge increase in Job Seekers, so why are we struggling to fill urgent vacancies?

About the EU Settlement Scheme

Whilst there is certainly no clear answer, many argue that the recent deadline for applications to the Government’s EU Settlement Scheme could be a leading cause, especially in markets where the majority of workers are from EU backgrounds. The change to Right to Work rules following this deadline has meant it is now increasingly difficult for Employers to recruit from outside the UK, and a skills shortage in the UK has left many South-West businesses struggling to fill urgent positions.

Businesses in the South-West, especially those within the IT Sector, offer Apprenticeship’s to help combat these skill shortages. Many distribution companies are also offering on-the-job training for new recruits to gain HGV licences as they work. Whilst this is a good long-term solution to closing the skills-gap in the South-West, it isn’t offering a solution to the urgent recruitment issues that our region’s employers are facing.

Employers can still utilise skills offered by EU Nationals, providing they have Pre-Settled, Settled or Residency Status under the EU Settlement Scheme, or the company has a Sponsor Licence and the applicant has a Skilled Worker visa. To apply for the Sponsor Licence, businesses can view the eligibility and application process online here. The minimum salary for employees with a skilled worker visa is the highest out the following 3 options:

  • £25,600 per year
  • 10 per hour
  • The ‘Going Rate’ for the type of work carried out

Key items to remember when applying for a Sponsor Licence

For many of the region’s smaller businesses, however, the process of applying for a Sponsor Licence can be convoluted and time consuming – that’s why we have listed 3 key things to remember:

  • You’ll usually need a sponsor licence to employ someone to work for you from outside the UK. This includes citizens of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland who arrived in the UK after 31st December 2020.
  • When selecting the Authorising Officer, it should be the most senior person responsible for the recruitment of all migrant workers, who is able to ensure that all of your sponsor duties are met.
  • There are strict timescales in place to submit supporting documents with the sponsor licence application. Once the application has been submitted, all supporting and documentation needs to be submitted within five working days.

Here at CitrusHR Consulting, we offer support and guidance on the process of sponsorship for the region’s small and medium sized businesses. Please do get in touch if this is something that may be useful for your organisation. One of our friendly team will be able to assist in any queries that you may have.

From Monday 16 August 2021, Covid19 self-isolation requirements change. From then, adults who have received 2 doses of a Covid19 vaccination (and all Under18’s) will no longer be required to self-isolate if they meet someone who has tested positive for Covid19. Fully-vaccinated adults will only have to self-isolate if they themselves test positive for Covid19. This will hopefully bring an end to the now dubbed “Pingdemic” and businesses across the South-West will breathe a huge sigh of relief as we return to the new sense of normality. With people returning to the office, and a South-West staycation boom on the cards, things are looking up for our region’s employers.

As usual, please take a read of our past blogs, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to stay up to date. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, we would love to hear from you! Please do get in touch with us direct: CitrusHR Consulting, call us on 0844 854 6704 or email us at info@citrushrconsulting.com.

Author: Oliver Catchpole, HR and Policy Administrator, CitrusHR Consulting Ltd