Posted by Richard Woodman, Partner
What will the post-Brexit employment landscape look like?
On Monday 28 January 2019, the Parliament voted in favour of the proposed immigration bill. This bill is now being considered by a Public Bill Committee which will scrutinise the Bill line by line and is expected to report to the House of Commons by Thursday 7 March 2019.
The Bill, officially known as the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, is aimed at adapting the UK’s current immigration policy to ensure it has an independent immigration policy after Brexit.
The new immigration system
The Government’s Immigration White Paper, unveiled in December 2018, introduced the If the Bill is passed it will bring to an end free movement. It will not however, provide the rules for any new immigration system. These will need to be legislated for separately.
The Government’s Immigration White Paper, unveiled in December 2018, introduced the new skills-based system which would come into effect from 2021.
The new system severely limits the ability of UK employers to recruit so-called low-skilled workers from the EU after Brexit. Under the new system, skilled migrants from the EU would have to earn at least £30,000, (the salary threshold that is already imposed on non-EU workers), before being allowed into the UK on five-year visas.
The UK Government intends to introduce a short-term scheme to enable low-skilled workers from specified countries to work in the UK for up to one year. However, individuals would not be able to extend their stay, or switch into other visa categories in the UK. The Government also wants to plug the vacancy gap in certain sectors by extending the current Youth Mobility Scheme to EU countries, enabling individuals aged between 18 and 30 to work in the UK for up to two years.
Settled Status / Temporary Leave
European citizens living and working in the UK must apply for settled status
or pre-settled status by 30 June 2021. Earlier this month (January 2019), the Government waived the planned £65 fee for this application.
On Monday 28 January 2019, the Home Office announced that if the UK leaves the EU without agreeing a deal, EU and EEA citizens and their family members, including Swiss citizens, will still be able to come to the UK for visits, work or study and they will be able to enter the UK as they do now – for a transitional period only.
However, to stay longer than 3 months they will need to apply for permission and receive European Temporary Leave to Remain, which is valid for a further 3 years. EU citizens wishing to stay for longer than 3 years will need to make a further application under the new skills-based future immigration system, which will begin from 2021.
Is your business going to be affected?
Statistics for various sectors, notably healthcare, social care, hospitality and retail, demonstrate clearly how reliant UK employers are on EU staff.
Has your organisation considered the members of staff you’ve recruited from both inside and outside the European Union? It is vital that you look at your current workforce as well as your likely future recruitment needs.
Steps you can take now
- Gather employee data to understand who may be impacted by the changes are and what roles they carry out , whether EU nationals in the UK or British nationals in Europe.
- Provide staff with information about the options available to them and consider offering support in relation to settled status applications.
Given Brexit woes and the uncertainty it has caused, many employers have been going the extra mile to support EU staff by providing assurance to staff about the security of their position, offering help and information about the options available and assisting with applications. Showing staff they are valued is good for morale, but also good for business as staff will be more likely to stay loyal to employers who show they care. Given that recruitment and retention of staff will be burning issues for businesses after Brexit, having a loyal and engaged workforce will be key.
- Get advice on right to work checks and the law on the prevention of illegal working to help ensure your business meets its legal obligations.
- Consider if your business may benefit from becoming a licensed sponsor.
We help our clients smoothly navigate the UK’s fast changing immigration laws and processes. We advise clients including large companies, SMEs and partnerships in sectors ranging from finance, retail, news broadcasters, art galleries, and design/architecture companies. For expert immigration advice. contact Helen Murphie on:
020 7842 1434 Email us
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