QBH’s brief employer’s guide to Brexit…

… and its implications for your workforce

I think it is safe to say that Brexit has had its fair share of challenges and its likely to give us a few more, however one area that will have an higher than average impact is employment and recruitment of people from the European Union. Before Brexit there was free movement meaning only ID checks and general pre-employment checks needed to be competed, but what happens now…..

Employing EU Citizens

If you are recruiting or employing anyone  to obtain a license from within the EU, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland or Liechtenstein, you will need a licence. This does not apply to workers from Ireland or people with pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

  • Check if an employee is a EU citizen, as it is important to have all correct paperwork in place
  • Reach out to them to see whether they have applied for the EU settlement scheme. EU citizen will need to apply for the scheme if they wish to remain in the UK after 30 June 2021 and are eligible.
  • Offer assistance with their application where appropriate.

You can check a persons status here, but you will need the person’s “share code”, whch you can obtain from your employee: https://www.gov.uk/check-immigration-status

What does Brexit means and what is the EU Settlement scheme

EU, EEA or Swiss citizens and their families resident in the UK before 31st December 2020 can apply to the settlement scheme now (if not already done so), to continue to live and work in the UK after the 30 June 2021. If the application is successful, the individual will be granted either settled or pre-settled status.

Difference between settled and pre-settled status:

Settled status is usually given to individuals who started living in the UK by 31 December 2020 and who have lived in the UK for 5 years continuously.

Pre-settled status is usually given to those who do not have 5 years’ continuous residency in the UK when they apply and are living in the UK. When the individual reaches those 5 years of living in the UK, they will be able to apply for settled status. Individuals can stay in the UK for a further 5 years from the date they receive pre-settled status.

Under both settled and pre-settled status, individuals have the right to work in the UK.

The government has created a useful toolkit for employers: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/eu-settlement-scheme-employer-toolkit

Skilled workers

Anyone you recruit from outside the UK for the Skilled Worker route needs to demonstrate that:

  • they have a job offer from a Home Office licensed sponsor
  • they speak English at the required level
  • the job offer is at the required skill level of RQF3 or above (equivalent to A level)
  • they will be paid at least £25,600 or the ‘going rate’ for the job offer, whichever is higher

Intra-company transfers

If you want to transfer a worker from a part of your business overseas to work for you in the UK, they can apply for the Intra-Company Transfer route. Applicants will need to be existing workers who will undertake roles that meet the skills and salary thresholds.

Workers transferring to the UK need to:

  • be sponsored as an Intra-Company Transfer by a Home Office licensed sponsor.
  • have 12 months’ experience working for a business overseas linked by ownership to the UK business they will work for.
  • be undertaking a role at the required skill level of RQF6 or above (graduate level equivalent).
  • be paid at least £41,500 or the ‘going rate’ for the job, whichever is higher

Permission for workers transferred to the UK on the Intra-Company Transfer route is temporary. Workers can be assigned to the UK multiple times, but they cannot stay in the UK for more than five years in any six-year period.

UK points-based immigration system, employer information

Information to help employers prepare for the UK’s new points-based immigration system.

Business trips to the EU

If employees are required to travel to the EU for work, they will need to ensure that their passport has at least 6 months validity left and that it is less than 10 years’ old (even if it still has 6 months left). If this is not the case, they will not be able to travel to most EU and EEA countries. This is the same rule that applies for going on holiday abroad.

If you employee is required to drive in the EU and is a British citizen, they may need one or more international driving permits in order to drive in an EU country, which will depend on the country they will be driving in. Furthermore, when driving in the EU or EEA, you will also need to have a motor insurance green card.

It is important that you as the employer advise your staff of this to ensure travel plans are not affected and to minimise any disruption to your business.

Possible Future Changes to UK Employment Law

In effect, the EU Withdrawal Act 2018 converted EU law into UK law.

Following the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the UK is no longer required to copy new EU law into UK law, as long as employment law rights are not reduced below those in place on 31st December 2020, where this would impact trade or investment.

GDPR after the transition period

Although the EU GDPR is an EU Regulation and will no longer apply to the UK, the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) continues to apply. Furthermore, the provisions of the EU GDPR were incorporated directly into UK law at the end of the transition period, which means the UK GDPR sits alongside the DPA 2018.

So, if you operate inside the UK, you will need to comply with UK data protection law and with the incorporation of the GDPR, in practice there is little change to the core data protection principles, rights and obligations.