Changes to the immigration rule post-Brexit: What it means for employers

As Brexit looms ever closer, there is a raft of implications for the workforce that employers in various business sectors need to consider – and act on.

While some uncertainty still surrounds the deal and date regarding the UK’s exit of the European Union, there is more certainty about some of the more far-reaching changes to the immigration rule post-Brexit.

We know that free movement will end once the UK leaves the EU, though the practical arrangements necessary to repeal the current provisions are likely to be a delayed process.

The Government has however introduced a scheme whereby EU workers already in the UK will be able to apply for “settled status”, to be able to live and work in the UK indefinitely.

Employers should also be aware that the future employment of workers from the EU is likely to be subject to restrictions in the same way as the employment of other foreign nationals.

Therefore, recruitment processes will need to be adjusted accordingly.

In particular, to ensure effective workforce planning, recruitment and retention policies will need to be reviewed.

In other Brexit implications for a company’s workforce, in particular employers need to consider:

  • The extent to which the business relies on:
  • Nationals from the EU, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland who work in the UK, and
  • Nationals from the UK who work in the EU, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.
  • Immigration status of key employees from the EU, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland who work in the UK, and key UK employees working in those countries.
  • Likely effect of a future skills-based UK immigration system, particularly for businesses reliant on lower-skilled workers from the EU, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland; and
  • Extent to which the workforce relies on EU or EU-derived rights, such as freedom of movement, establishment rights, recognition of qualifications, and rights to provide cross-border services.

Should you have any legal questions or concerns regarding employment implications for business post-Brexit, or any other employment law-related issues, please do not hesitate to contact this article’s author, trainee solicitor Lazuna Ullah,  a member of our Employment Law team here at Milners, on 0113 245 0852 or email us at hello@milnerslaw

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