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Brexit

Published: 28 June 2018
Area of Law: Brexit

Preparing for Brexit: 5 steps to protect your workforce

People are at the heart of any business and the Brexit negotiations have given both employers and their European workforces a bumpy ride so far.

Despite recent announcements by the Government beginning to shed light on the rights of EU citizens already living in the UK, uncertainty over how businesses will recruit EU workers in the future still remains.

Businesses of all shapes and sizes need to get the wheels in motion to ensure they are in the best possible position to secure their current workforce and new talent going forward.

What do the current Government proposals say?

The latest Government proposals state that any EU citizen who has been continuously living in the UK for five or more years will be able to apply to stay post-Brexit by obtaining 'settled status' through a newly announced settlement scheme, expected to go live by March 2019. EU nationals will then have until 30 June 2021 to apply for this new immigration status. Those who do not apply by this date will not have the right to live and work in the UK.

For EU nationals who haven’t lived in the UK for the required five years, ‘pre-settled status’ can be applied for. They will then be able to apply for 'settled status' once the required timeframe has been met. However, the status of people who arrive after the grace period ends remains unclear.

EU nationals who have already obtained permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain in the UK will need to apply again for a new style settled status document.

What are the potential challenges for employers?

The latest announcements have been a welcome positive step for EU nationals currently living in the UK, and provide some much needed clarity for businesses. However employers must not sit back and relax. Uncertainty still remains for employers looking to recruit employees after the implementation period ends.

Businesses must also take into account that whilst decisions to migrate are complex, Brexit has created a unique set of circumstances, such as a fall in the value of the pound, and increased uncertainty about future status, that threatens to make the UK less attractive.

Businesses need to prepare now for a new era of reduced migration. Our five step plan shows you how.

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Joanna Thornell, Client and Markets Director, Shakespeare Martineau