Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Impact of Brexit on Employment

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Impact of Brexit on Employment

Article excerpt

Byline: Gillian Burns, Employment Solicitor at Ward Hadaway

FAST-GROWING companies, especially those operating in specialised or niche sectors, may need to turn to overseas staff to help fill important positions or to expand their workforces quickly.

But with Brexit drawing ever closer, companies relying heavily on EU workers to produce their goods or deliver their services will be looking for details on how their workforces will be affected once the UK leaves the European Union.

The current situation remains fairly unclear with the first few rounds of negotiations between the UK and the EU not appearing to clarify where workers and businesses stand.

However, the Government has published a policy paper, 'Safeguarding the position of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU', which sets out its proposals on the post-exit position of EU citizens in the UK.

The policy paper gives an indication of how the Government intends to deal with EU workers in the UK now and arriving prior to the UK's exit from the EU.

We now know that there will be a 'grace period' (yet to be officially defined, but potentially up to two years) during which all EU workers must apply for the right to live and work in the UK.

At this current moment in time, it isn't necessary to apply for documents to prove an EU worker is exercising existing rights - something that had caused issues with self-employed or self-sufficient individuals finding it difficult to obtain a residence card due to a lack of comprehensive sickness cover.

Following Brexit, those EU workers already in the UK by the cut-off date will have the grace period to apply for settled status where they have continuously resided in the UK for five years, or temporary status, which would allow them to apply for settled status after five years, with no further conditions imposed.

It is expected that EU workers in the UK will be able to make such applications before Brexit but no details of this have been announced.

New, as yet unannounced rules will dictate the rights of workers arriving after the cut-off date.

Those workers arriving in the UK after the cut-off date but before Brexit will have to apply for temporary permission to stay during the grace period.

What this will involve and what rights these workers will have thereafter are still currently unknown.

Those workers arriving in the UK after Brexit will be subject to whatever immigration conditions are in force at the time and cannot expect to be able to obtain settled status in the UK.

It is not yet clear whether these workers will be assessed on the current points-based system or a new system.

As can be seen, many of the most crucial details in these arrangements have yet to be finalised including details of the application process, further eligibility criteria, for example if there will be an English language requirement, and importantly the cost to apply. …

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