Many employers value workers from overseas due to the knowledge and skills they can contribute to the organisation. HR professionals have an important role to play in recruiting migrant workers as they are responsible for carrying out the necessary checks and making sure the law is followed.

This factsheet looks at categories of foreign nationals in terms of their freedom to enter and work in the UK. It outlines the legal framework and highlights the risks of employing people illegally. It also explores the particular issues and responsibilities employers need to be aware of when employing workers from overseas, and provides links to government guidance on the employer's role during the checking process.

CIPD viewpoint

Reasons for employing workers from overseas

The UK’s decision to leave the European Union

The legal framework

Employers’ responsibilities for avoiding illegal employment

Recruiting overseas workers

Useful contacts and further reading

This factsheet was last updated by Gerwyn Davies.

Gerwyn Davies

Gerwyn Davies: Labour Market Adviser

Gerwyn is the CIPD’s Public Policy Adviser for a wide range of labour market issues. With lead responsibility for welfare reform, migration and zero-hour contracts at the CIPD, Gerwyn has led and shaped the policy debate and achieved substantial national media coverage through various publications. These include Zero-hours contracts: myth and reality (2013) and The growth of EU labour: assessing the impact on the UK labour market (2014). 

In addition Gerwyn authors the CIPD's high profile and influential quarterly Labour Market Outlook. Gerwyn is an experienced labour market commentator, making regular appearances in the national media and on other public platforms, including several appearances before the House of Commons Work and Pensions select committee.


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