Employing migrant workers in Northern Ireland

Local support for employers and migrant workers


A new immigration system applies to people arriving in the UK from 1 January 2021. EU citizens moving to the UK to work will need to get a visa in advance. Employers need a sponsor licence to hire most workers from outside the UK.

Please note: this requirement excludes Irish citizens and those who already have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

See right to work checks: employing EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens.

There is a variety of support available to both employers and migrant workers in Northern Ireland.

The Careers Service

The Careers Service, within the Department for the Economy (DfE), provides an impartial, all-age service to help with making informed choices about future career paths.

Find out more about the Careers Service.

Qualifications Equivalence Service

The Department for Communities (DfC) provides the Qualifications Equivalence Service if you are a resident in Northern Ireland and need to check your qualifications against UK equivalents. This free service is accessible through your local Jobs and Benefits office or JobCentre.

A member of staff will arrange a check against UK National Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) database on your behalf, and provide you with comparison information and advice on your specific qualifications.

Not resident in Northern Ireland

If you are a non-UK national from a member state within the EU, EEA or Switzerland with professional qualifications and wish to work in Northern Ireland you may be eligible, under the EU Directive on the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications (Directive 2005/36/EC), for automatic or general recognition of your qualifications depending on your profession.

For further details, see are your country's qualifications recognised in the UK?

The UK European Network of Information Centre (UK ENIC)

UK ENIC (formerly UK NARIC) is responsible for providing information and advice on vocational, academic and professional skills qualifications worldwide.

Managed on behalf of the UK Government, it is provided to help people who are looking for a job or wish to undertake further study.

Find out more about UK ENIC.

The Department for Business and Trade

Some professions in the UK are regulated. This can mean there is a legal requirement to have certain qualifications or experience. Other professions are regulated by chartered bodies granting a certain status.

The Department for Business and Trade has a tool to help you check which professions are regulated in the UK and find contact details for regulators of those professions.

Equality Commission

The Equality Commission provides practical advice to employer and service providers on how they can manage the equality implications of employing and managing staff.

This includes helping you to develop a practical and flexible framework to assess your current policies in relation to race and migrant workers and using equality indicators to identify gaps in your policies.

In addition, through the employer training programme, employers can also attend training seminars and information sessions on a wide range of equality issues including managing bullying and harassment and recruiting fairly.

Labour Relations Agency

The Labour Relations Agency (LRA) provides an impartial and confidential employment relations service, including advice on good employment practices and assistance with the development and implementation of policies and procedures.

The LRA also helps to resolve workplace disputes through its conciliation, mediation and arbitration services.

In addition, the LRA hosts a free events programme of best practice seminars, workshops and briefings on a broad range of employment issues throughout the year.