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November 23, 2020

Brexit and what this will mean for employers

by Andrew Beaumont

If you cast your mind back to 31st January 2020, you might remember the mention of something called Brexit! A lot has happened since that date and although it may seem that other Covid related issues have taken over, we are still in a Brexit transition period and the rules are about to change for a lot of employers all over the country.

What is Brexit?

Brexit is the day that the UK will be leaving the European Union (EU). This will be happening on 31st December 2020 and it is important that all business owners are aware of how this could impact their business and their employees going forward into 2021.

Free movement currently means that anyone from the EU is free to come and take up employment within the United Kingdom. It is currently a requirement to check ID documents that prove someone has the right to work in the UK; an EU passport or ID card is perfectly sufficient for this at present.

What can you do to protect your workforce?

There has been a lot of uncertainty for EU citizens living within the UK since the vote to leave the EU. So, first and foremost, it is incredibly important to ensure that you are checking in on your staff to make sure that they are okay. There has been a steep rise in racism within the UK since the Brexit vote and it is crucial that this is not taking place in the workplace. You can make sure this happens by promoting a zero-tolerance approach and reviewing your anti-discrimination policies. Enlisting help from a Human Resources Consultant like myself will make sure that your policies are up to date and fit for purpose. If you are confident that your policies are robust, reminding your employees that they exist can discourage unwanted behaviour and reassure all employees, but particularly those from the EU, that you are supporting them.

Identify the employees who are likely to be affected by this change. This will be:

·       European Nationals

·       Employees who have family members that are European Nationals

The government has suggested that EU nationals who entered the United Kingdom legally under the rules that were in existence at the time of entry, will be unaffected and they will be welcome to stay within the UK but they will need to apply for pre-settled or settled status before 30th June 2021.

What is pre-settled/settled status?

This will provide evidence that a European national resided in the United Kingdom before the end of the Brexit transition period and may also give the individual a right to apply for British Citizenship. Once individuals are granted pre-settled or settled status, they will be able to live and work in the UK for as long as they like.

For more information about this please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/eu-settlement-scheme-employer-toolkit 

Employing EU nationals post Brexit

Anyone who is coming to the UK to work will need to apply for permission in advance.

Employers can continue to accept passports and national identity cards for EU citizens until 30th June 2021. It will not be a requirement for individuals to share their status prior to this date and any employer who requests this could be seen as discriminating.

If you want to employ someone from outside of the EU after 1st January 2021 you need to be a Home Office licensed sponsor. For more information on how to become a licensed sponsor, please visit https://www.gov.uk/uk-visa-sponsorship-employers/apply-for-your-licence

There are going to be key challenges moving into 2021; find out exactly how the new rules affect you and your business and how you can prepare yourself here https://www.gov.uk/transition.

Still not sure how the new changes will affect you?

There is a lot of information to take in with regards to all the changes post Brexit, so you can be forgiven for being utterly confused by it all. If you still have questions about how the new changes are going to affect you, please do get in touch with me andrew@ajbhrcs.co.uk and I will be happy to talk through your situation and help make things clearer for you.

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