Answer ... The United Kingdom is regarded as having a relatively flexible labour market. UK employment law distinguishes between employees, workers and the self-employed. Employees have full rights, including the right to a statutory notice period, not to be unfairly dismissed and to various types of family leave such as maternity and paternity leave. Workers have more limited rights, including the right to receive the national minimum wage, to 28 days’ holiday and to limits on daily and weekly working time, but not to unfair dismissal/family leave rights. Employees and workers are protected against discrimination because of a protected characteristic, including age, race, sex, disability, sexual orientation and religion and belief. The self-employed have minimal rights.
Individuals are employees if they have a right to be offered work and a duty to accept it, the employer controls what they do and there are no features that are inconsistent with an employment relationship. Individuals who are not employees may be workers if they perform services personally and are not carrying on a business on their own account. Tribunals and courts look to the reality of the situation, not just to the way the employer and the individual have categorised their relationship, when deciding whether someone is an employee, a worker or genuinely self-employed. This means that those working in fintech on a self-employed basis may still have rights as either an employee or a worker if the ‘self-employed’ label does not reflect the reality of the relationship.
Answer ... Until the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals have the right to live and work in the country under the freedom of movement principle.
For non-EEA/Swiss nationals, visitors’ visas are available for those engaging in a limited number of permitted work-related activities for a short period (normally up to six months). Longer-term visas are available through the business and work-related categories of the UK immigration Points-Based System (PBS). The most relevant visas for businesses wishing to start up in the United Kingdom or to employ non-EEA/Swiss nationals are those for:
- high-value migrants under Tier 1 of the PBS; and
- skilled workers under Tier 2 of the PBS.
Tier 1 visas allow experienced business people or those wanting to start a business to work in the United Kingdom, provided that their business idea is assessed by an approved endorsement body and they meet various other conditions such as an English language requirement. Investor visas are available to those with £2 million to invest.
Under Tier 2 of the PBS, UK employers can sponsor skilled workers to perform roles in the United Kingdom that cannot be filled from the resident labour market. There are annual limits on the number of Tier 2 (general) visas that can be issued and various conditions apply, such as minimum salary requirements. Intra-company transfers are also possible in some circumstances.
It is expected that there will still be a route for skilled migration to the United Kingdom for entrepreneurs and those with employer sponsorship post-Brexit.