Taking simple precautions now could help protect organisations’ workforces
Many EU workers in the UK, and their employers, are understandably concerned about their current status and the impact of Brexit. The government has recently issued advice on this. When the UK serves notice to exit the EU under Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union, this will trigger a two-year period after which the UK’s membership of the EU will cease, unless there is unanimous agreement to extend the period. Employers should make use of this time to ensure they are prepared and have done everything they can to protect their businesses.
There are unlikely to be any changes to the immigration rules in the short term, and until the UK actually leaves:
In the longer term, if the EU’s freedom of movement principle falls away post-Brexit, new immigration arrangements will be needed for EU workers wishing to work here. It is likely that the points-based system will be expanded to cover both EU and non-EU nationals, which will mean that skilled EU workers will need to be sponsored by a UK business under Tier 2. The situation regarding lower-skilled workers is more uncertain.
Although the government wants to control immigration, the UK currently relies on EU workers for many lower-skilled and lower-paid jobs, particularly in the hospitality, retail, agriculture, and food and drink manufacturing industries. While Tier 3 of the points-based system does technically cover low-skilled roles for non-EU workers, it has never operated as these roles have been filled by EU workers. In the event that all non-UK citizens needed immigration clearance to work here, the obvious option would be to open Tier 3 to both EU and non-EU workers, possibly with a cap on numbers.
While the current uncertainty continues, there are steps that both EU employees working here and their employers can take.
EU employees could:
Huw Cooke is a senior associate and Megan Summers a solicitor in the employment team at Burges Salmon LLP
Story via – http://www.cipd.co.uk/pm/peoplemanagement/b/weblog/archive/2016/08/04/how-eu-workers-can-strengthen-their-immigration-position-pre-brexit.aspx