Brexit: what now for employers?

Since 31 January 2020, the United Kingdom has formally ceased its membership of the European Union. A transitional period is now in place until the end of 2020 while longer-term trade and immigration arrangements are worked out.

EU citizens currently residing in the UK must apply for ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status asap if they have not already, and before 30th June 2021

We advise employers to review their workforce and identify any employees or workers that this may affect and support them in this process. You will also need to ensure you hold evidence of the relevant and most up to status of your employees on file to prove their right to be working in the UK.

An Australian points-based system will be introduced to control immigration, with equal criteria for all countries and no preference for European workers. Points will be based on “the skills they have and the contribution they can make”. This will preference higher skilled workers and make it difficult for new low skill workers to enter the country. All workers will need to have a good grasp of English and be a law abiding citizen in their own country (baseline criteria), and most will need a clear job offer too.

There will be “special immigration routes for those who will make the biggest contribution”. This includes bespoke visa schemes for new migrants who will fill shortages in our public services, e.g. the “NHS Visa” and the “Leadership Visa”.

During the transition period, employment law remains unchanged, as do the rules for demonstrating the right to work in the UK.

The government has indicated that after the transition period, existing EU-based employment legislation will continue to apply in domestic law. It is possible that the UK will be required to continue to implement elements of EU legislation as a condition of a negotiated trade deal between the UK and EU.

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