Brexit Deal Delay…What Next ?
Whilst there appears to be no decision on Brexit we wanted to provide a brief update for organisations that employ EU nationals.
It is not surprising that a lot of Brexit inquiries for EU nationals living and working in the UK have been raised recently. While it is true to say that the outcome of the Government’s negotiations with Europe is still unclear and different exit scenarios exist, it is important for employers to consider their workforce and start preparing.
EU citizens residing in the UK will maintain their residency rights during the transition period until Dec 2020. For EEA staff that do not hold a British passport, (or indefinite leave to stay in the UK) they will need to apply by 30 June 2021 to continue living in the UK. The scheme is open fully from 30 March 2019. EEA nationals living in the UK will be able to continue living in the UK if they successfully apply to the EU Settlement Scheme and/or for British citizenship. Based on the above, if their application is successful, they will get either settled or pre-settled status.
Moreover, the Government has confirmed that Common Travel Area (CTA) and associated rights between the UK, Ireland and the Crown dependencies will be unaffected by Brexit. Irish and British citizens will continue to enjoy freedom to travel and work within the CTA without the need for immigration controls or residence/work permits. Irish citizens will not need to obtain settled status in the UK.
Briefly, employers could take the follow steps:
- Look at the number of European Economic Area (EEA) staff in their organisation, the roles or areas of the business such staff work in
- Consider anticipated needs for such roles in the coming years and how they will be filled if mobility rules are changed for EEA workers and whether these roles will remain available or will be soon made redundant
- Get in touch with the staff affected—ask for their written consent to review and process personal data so to assess needs and support available for a valid reason—in this case Brexit purposes and conduct the necessary statistics for internal business strategy design purposes. It is crucial to remember that since GDPR is in place, collating staff lists and processing information only in accordance with a protected characteristic without prior consent of the employees affected
- Employers could also provide the staff with the relevant guidance and the latest information available via e-mail and in their internal bulletin—if existent.
- Encourage EEA employees to apply by the deadline in order for you to avoid delays or potential penalties fail “right to work” tests are failed.
The great news for both the employer and the employee is that there will be no fee for the service. Anyone who has applied already, or who applies and pays a fee during the test phases, will have their fee refunded. Details of the refunds process will be published shortly.
Regardless of whether you are for or against Brexit, or whether as an employee/employer you believe it might or might not happen, preparation is key.