How ready is your business for Brexit?

January 21, 2021

At one point (pre-2020 we’d guess), we were all just a little bit fatigued by talk of Brexit.

Well, it’s actually happened now and due to the pandemic taking all of our attention over the last few months, there’s a possibility that some businesses aren’t completely Brexit-ready.

We’ve all had to divert our energy into living and working with COVID, but with the end of free movement for people and goods, all businesses now need to meet the requirements of the new UK-EU relationship.

The EU Settlement Scheme is perhaps the most significant change for employers to come to terms with. Via this, all EU citizens must apply for indefinite leave to remain. Provided that they have been in the UK since at least 31st December 2020, European nationals have until 30th June 2021 to apply for either settled status (if they have been here for at least 5 years) or pre-settled status (if their time in the UK hasn’t yet reached 5 years).

Application for settled or pre-settled status is relatively uncomplicated and is, in most cases, completed on a smartphone. Whilst employers can be held responsible for employees working without the correct documentation post June, they cannot complete the paperwork on their behalf, nor can they pressure them into applying (or dismiss them if they refuse to). As well as discussing settlement with any existing EU nationals on the payroll, it should now feature within every company’s on-boarding process.

New Immigration Rules mean that EU and non-EU citizens are treated equally and will be subject to a points-based system before they are permitted to live and work in the UK.  There are Mandatory and Tradeable points associated with elements of their individual circumstances and these must add up to a minimum of 70. The finer detail of this points system can be found on the Gov website.

Other schemes which may be relevant to your business when employing EU nationals, include Sponsorship Licenses, Health & Care Visas, Intra-company Transfers, Youth Mobility Schemes and Seasonal Workers Schemes. It is certainly worth exploring these if you think they may apply to your particular situation but be prepared for the fact that applications can take up to 3 months to process.

Regulated professions must also take care as we enter this new Brexit era as any qualifications now need to be officially recognised in the UK. If you think this may apply to your own business, or to others with whom you work closely, then seek clarification from the relevant regulator to ensure that you are operating within the law.

Finally, if Business Travel is a regular occurrence within your organisation you need to adhere to new entry requirements for all EU countries. Make sure you know the rules for the destinations you visit and apply in advance for any visas and permits to avoid being turned away at the border!

At CoLaw we understand that Brexit may mean yet more administration to add to your burden and that’s why we are here to help with any queries or concerns you may have about your own compliance, or that of your employees.

Speak to one of our friendly team or visit www.colaw.co.uk/aboutus/for more advice and support.

The information provided in all of our blogs reflects only a narrative of some elements to consider on the topic. The blogs do not contain considered legal advice and should not be relied upon as advice. Please see our website terms and conditions for full details of our disclaimer. If you are interested in obtaining advice, please contact one of our lawyers who will be happy and able to advise you on your own particular circumstances.