As we are all aware the Brexit date is approaching fast.
Whilst it is still unclear how Brexit is going to happen (deal or no deal situation), what is clear is that the free movement will not continue for UK nationals and European Economic Area (EEA)* nationals in the UK.
However, if this affects your business there is information available for you to take steps to prepare by engaging with any European employees and creating a strategy for current and future staff.
Provided that there is a deal, there will be a transition period lasting until 31 December 2020. During this time, freedom of movement will continue. The transition period gives businesses more time to prepare for Brexit.
In a no-deal scenario, there would be no transition period, so any EEA nationals looking to relocate to the UK, and UK nationals relocating to the EEA, after 29 March 2019 would require immigration permission under the immigration rules of the country to which they relocate.
You may want to focus on contingency planning for a no-deal scenario in the immediate term.
* The EEA covers all the countries of the EU, as well as Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. Currently EEA nationals can come to the UK for up to three months without conditions.
Please see below a checklist of things that you should be thinking about:
- The current right of free movement for UK nationals and EEA nationals in the UK will end.
- Understanding the settlement scheme for EEA nationals in the UK (please click here for further information) and considering providing assistance with any applications.
- The transition period will not apply in a no-deal scenario and understanding the implications of this for the business.
- The position of employees on international assignments and international commuters in relation to qualification for settled status, if applicable.
- Establishing which employees are EEA nationals in the UK or British nationals in the EEA.
- Communicating with the workforce on the potential impact of Brexit and the support available to employees.
- Understanding whether the proposals for the post-Brexit immigration regime will impact the business.
- Reviewing policies and documents to assess whether any will need to be amended because of Brexit.
- Identifying potential skills gaps and labour shortages and planning how to address these.
- Preparing for HR involvement in strategic decisions on relocation.