Employers get ready for Brexit! – there is time.
What to do now:
- Don’t panic!
- Audit your workforce. 8% of the workforce is made up of EU nationals – check the immigration status of your employees; for example do EU Nationals have settled or pre-settled status.
- Communicate with your employees – EU nationals could lose their right to work in the UK (and you the right to employ them).
- However according to the House of Commons website (22nd January 2020) employers are not going to be required to carry out retrospective checks on existing employees. Good reason to take matters slowly and not panic.
- Consider an information session for employees – ask Employer Solutions.
- Encourage employees to apply for Settled status or, if they don’t qualify, then they should apply for Pre-settled status. The deadline for this is 30th June 2021.
- Keep in touch with employees and their applications (you cannot apply for them).
- Review future manpower plans. The need to demonstate settled or pre-settled status will apply to anyone you take on after 31st December 2020.
- Any non-British citizen (including EU Nationals unless they have settled or pre-settled status) will be subject to more specific immigration rules.
- Be mindful of discrimination and unfair dismissal risks.
- Talk to us – we are happy to help
What to watch out for later:
- Immigration reform – this will affect all non-UK workers including low skilled migrants. There is a suggestion this will allow in workers for the care and hospitaility sectors. Watch this space.
- Settled status share codes (rather like shared driving licence codes we suggest) they mean you can continue to employ those people.
- Freedom of movement currently allows EU Nationals to work here with a minimum of checks (effectively just an EU passport). This ends on 1st January 2021 thereafter EU Nationals should have settled or pre settled status to be legally employed, even if this is not enforced for existing employees.
Much water will flow under the bridge before 31st December 2020 – effectively the Brexit date for freedom of movement. The guidance here, including the dates quoted, may change.
Nonetheless, it would be wise to be ready for Brexit when it comes.
Malcolm Martin FCIPD
Author Human Resource Practice
Blogs are for general guidance and are not an authoritative statement of the law.