Hire staff from outside the UK

Your company must register as a licensed visa sponsor with the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to hire staff from outside the UK beginning 1 January 2021.

This includes hiring people from the following countries:

  • The EU  
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • Switzerland

Who arrived in the UK after 31 December 2020 because the UK has left the EU and the transition period ended 31 December 2020.

The people your company is recruiting must also meet the new job, the language and the salary requirements set by the UK Immigration Department called the Home Office.

Licensed visa sponsor for UK employers

You can apply for your employer licensed visa sponsor from the UK Visas and Immigration.

Once approved, the Home Office will a certificate of sponsorship to you. Your license will be valid for 4 years.

Once your company has become a licensed visa sponsor, you must maintain your employer’s responsibilities as set out by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). For example, if your company has ceased trading and you are going to dissolve your company.

Hire Staff from outside the UK that does not require a licensed visa sponsor

The licensed visa sponsor rule does not apply to the staff from the following countries you already employ in the UK and were living in the UK by 31 December 2020.

  • The EEA
  • Swiss citizens

They and their family members can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021.

Besides, making sure you apply for a licensed visa sponsor before hiring staff from outside the UK and maintaining your responsibilities as a licensed visa sponsor employer, remember to maintain your company filings with Companies House. Deliver your confirmation statement and company accounts to Companies House promptly to avoid a late filing penalty.

Non-verbal communications in business

Understanding non-verbal communications in business settings allow you to gather feedback on what being said instantly, whether the message is of interest or boring, clearly understood or confusing, disapproved or accepted.

All you have to do is to be aware of people’s non-verbal behaviours. Non-verbal behaviours are autopilot. In other words, they are controlled by your subconscious mind. The non-verbal behaviours tell you the feelings and attitudes of others in response to what being said or discussed.


When someone is mirroring your non-verbal behaviour. He/she shows a willingness to understand you and genuinely connect with you. This is like the “we are on the same page on this subject” kind of non-verbal communications.

If you observe politicians on TV, you will see them mirroring each other when they stand and also when they are sitting down. This is because politicians have a genuine desire to connect with people meet.

Top tip, if you want to catch a stranger’s attention, you can do it by mirroring the person. Say in a restaurant, you want to attract a stranger’s attention, you mimic her postures, gestures including the words she said. If she picks up her glass to sip her wine, you pick up your glass to sip your drink. If she touches her nose, you also touch your nose. Sooner or later, she will notice you and start talking to you. Remember this phrase – like with like.


Be honest with yourself so that your non-verbal body language will be congruent. If you don’t agree with something say so. People tend to trust you when your non-verbal body language and words are congruent because you come across honest.

If you see someone said one thing but do another. Naturally, you will doubt the person’s intention and the person’s reliability become questionable. Your non-verbal body language can’t lie unless you are well-trained in acting it out.


A firm handshake is the best bet but you do not want to overdo it from a firm handshake to become a bone crusher handshake. Some people may perceive bone crusher handshake as aggressive. You don’t want that. You want to be perceived as firm but trustworthy and friendly.

On the other hand, a fingertip handshake is interpreted as lack of confidence and insipid.

Eye contact

Maintain eye contact when you speak to someone or someone is speaking with you. Don’t look away when people are talking to you. Steady eye contact is often taken as a sign that a person is telling the truth and is trustworthy. On the other hand, shifty eyes and an inability to maintain eye contact is frequently seen as an indicator that someone is being deceptive.


Gestures are another form of non-verbal communications. You can see on anyone’s face if he/she is happy or angry or sad or envy or fear or love. These are universal human emotions.

You smile when you are happy. People scowl when they are angry and have a long face when they are sad. With this, you can gauge if you should continue with your conversation or better change the topic. For example, if you are about to ask your friend for a favour to help you with your confirmation statement and company accounts filings and it is urgent, your friend told you his wife just had a baby and you can see from his face, look like he has slept for days. In this situation, you may want to reconsider, be kind to your friend, maybe ask some other friend to help.

In business social gatherings, if someone is talking to you with his/her body facing you directly, this means he/she wants to give you full attention. Later, if you notice the person shifted their body slightly to open up a gap between you and him/her in a triangle shape like this means the person is ready for another person to join in the conversations or that the person is ready to leave.


Generally, people have a conceptual egg shaped zone of personal space around their bodies and only trusted person can invaded if others trespass into it.

In business gatherings, if you do not want a person to invade your personal space, for example, standing up close to you, you can stand behind a chair or counter or you use your handbag (if you have one) to make the gap to protect your personal space. Likewise, you can observe yourself so that you are not invading others’ personal space unintentionally. When a person is comfortable and trusts you, he will let you into his personal space.

Understanding non-verbal communications can help you to communicate effectively with people and network with ease. You can gather instant feedback based on their non-verbal body language and act accordingly.

A firm handshake gives a good impression

Handshakes are a universally accepted way to meet and greet in business social gatherings and meetings. A firm handshake gives a good impression, and an intention to have peace with each other.

A handshake is also a popular non-verbal behaviour when a business deal is closed. It was like “thank you for accepting my proposal” or “thank you for the opportunities to collaborate or work together”.

A firm palm to palm handshake

Practice a firm, palm to palm followed by a decisive release kind of handshake. You will need this after the COVID is over. Avoid bone crusher, wet fish, dead fish, fingertips handshakes. Also, when your hand is cold, warm it up by rubbing your hands together before a handshake.

History of handshake

According to history.com, one of the earliest depictions of a handshake is found in a ninth-century B.C. relief, which shows the Assyrian King Shalmaneser III pressing the flesh with a Babylonian ruler to seal an alliance. 

You can read the full article about history of handshake here.

No handshake during COVID pandemic

During this COVID pandemic, a handshake is deemed dangerous. Scientifically, it is because of the possible COVID transmission from one person to the other and can spread like crazy.

Handshake will be back to life

You know what? COVID is not going to last forever on this planet. Face to face business meetings will come back to life at some point in the future and the popular handshake way to meet and greet in business gatherings will come back to life too.

Just look at the history of the previous pandemics, for example, the H1N1 Swine flu pandemic occurred between 2009 to 2010. The main route of swine flu virus spread between humans is exposure to the virus when someone infected sneezes or coughs, and the virus enters one of the potential mucous surfaces, or when a person touched something infected with the virus and subsequently touch their nose, mouth, and surrounding areas. This is how COVID was spread too.

Ask yourself? Before the COVID outbreak, did you shake hand with other people? I guess your answer is YES. With the COVID vaccines rolling out rapidly worldwide as I am writing this article, I believe COVID will no longer control how we want to live our lives and greet people in business settings.

Be ready to meet and greet with a firm handshake

Let be positive about the future and practice your firm handshake for when we are ready to meet face to face for business.

In the meantime, we embrace online meeting via Zoom, Whatapps, Face Time, Messenger, Skype, Google Meet and so on. We cannot do a handshake but we can smile and wave when we meet on screen. This is a popular non-verbal body language to welcome others in virtual meetings.

If you are running a business through a limited company, remember to deliver your confirmation statement and company accounts promptly to Companies House. It is important to maintain your company status “Active” with Companies House during this COVID pandemic. Your customers will lose confidence in your products or services if they see your company status is a “proposal to strike off” or “dissolved”.

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