Looking AHEAD

Published December 03 2020

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Many employers will have seen the government count-down clock setting out how many days there are left until Brexit and some employers will be considering what steps they need to take to prepare. Whilst organisations may be affected differently by Brexit, one common area employers may be thinking ahead about are the rules around the right to work in the UK.

In brief, the UK will have a new immigration system from 1 January 2021. It will apply to both EU citizens and non-EU citizens. It will mark a significant change, particularly as in general terms, EU citizens (including citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland) moving to the UK on or after 1 January 2021 will need a visa to be able to work (this doesn’t apply to Irish citizens).

Whilst immigration law is distinct from employment law and Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd are unable to provide specific advice, we thought it may be helpful to highlight some areas employers may wish to be aware of and to signpost some government resources that may be of assistance.

What might employers wish to consider?

As part of preparing for Brexit, it will be important for employers to:

1) Ensure they are fully aware of the government’s new immigration rules and take steps to understand the impact on their organisation. Employers who are planning to sponsor skilled migrants from 2021 but who are not yet an approved sponsor, may wish to apply for a sponsor licence as soon as possible.

As a starting point, employers may wish to refer to government guidance, such as https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-points-based-immigration-system-employer-information

2) Understand the EU Settlement Scheme  for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members who are living in the UK before 1 January 2021. Employers may wish to consider providing employees with information  on /assistance with the Scheme.

3) Understand the rules about checking a job applicant’s right to work in the UK and ensuring that this is done in a non-discriminatory way. According to government guidance, employers will need to check a job applicant’s right to work in the same way as now until 30 June 2021. Further information can be found about this on the government website https://www.gov.uk/guidance/employing-eu-citizens-in-the-uk

If you have an employment law matter you would like assistance with, Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd is happy to help.