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 employing EU citizens in the UK.

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

DfE provide the Qualifications Equivalence Service for non-UK nationals who have taken up residence in Northern Ireland to have their overseas qualifications compared against the UK equivalent.

This free service is available at Careers Service offices throughout Northern Ireland.

The UK National Recognition Information Centre (UK NARIC)

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 NARIC.

The Centre for Professional Qualifications (CPQ)

If a non-UK National holds a professional qualification eg a doctor, teacher nurse or lawyer, and wishes to work in Northern Ireland, the Assistance Centre within the CPQ can help them to obtain recognition for this qualification.

It can also help to clarify the regulations surrounding the profession in the UK.

Read more on the CPQ.

Equality Commission

The Equality Commission provides practical advice on how employers 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.

  • Equality Commission Employer Helpline
    028 90 500 600
  • LRA Workplace Information Service
    03300 555 300