Is your business Brexit ready?

Alan Price – CEO at BrightHR

December 09 2020

On the 31st of December 2020, the Brexit transition period will end.

And while there’s a lot about the UK’s future relationship with the EU that’s unknown, there are steps you can take now to help avoid staff disruption. Read on to find out more.

Registering for the EU Settlement Scheme

In March 2019, the UK Government launched the EU Settlement Scheme. This lets EU nationals living in the UK apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain by obtaining ‘settled status’ or ‘pre-settled status’ post-Brexit.

To use this scheme, EU citizens must have been in the country by the 31st of December 2020. They then have until the 30th of June 2021 to apply.

That gives your employees more time to decide whether to seek indefinite leave to remain. But be careful: there may be serious consequences if they miss the deadline.

The good news is the application itself is straightforward. The problem for managers is that the process is down to the individual.

Discuss your employees’ plans

Employers have no control over whether their EU staff choose to apply for settled status or not. And you mustn’t exert unnecessary pressure on them to do so.  

For example, if you dismiss an EU national before the 30th of June because they are unwilling to apply for settled status, then you may face claims of discrimination.

That may be frustrating for employers who need to know if their staff will still be in the country in July 2021.

It’s therefore important to discuss your EU employees’ plans for the future with them as soon as possible. Make them aware of the deadline and the importance of applying.

If they can’t give you a firm commitment that they plan to remain in the UK, then that at least gives you time to plan for and prevent staffing issues after June.

Planning for new immigration rules

If your workforce relies on non-UK citizens, then it’s important to get to grips with the new rules on immigration.  

From the 1st of January 2021, EU and non-EU citizens will be treated the same under a ‘points-based system’.

Under this new system, non-UK citizens who seek to work in the UK will need to meet certain criteria.

The ‘skilled worker’ route will probably be the most common. Under this route, mandatory and tradeable points to meet the requirements must add up to at least 70 points. For example, to enter as a skilled worker, non-UK citizens must show that:

  •         They have a job offer from an approved sponsor (20 points).
  •         That the job is of the required skill level (20 points).
  •         And that they speak English at the required level (10 points).

These mandatory requirements provide 50 points in total. Those looking to migrate to and work in the UK must then earn an extra 20 points from tradeable requirements, such as:

  •         Having a salary level of £25,600 or above (20 points).
  •         Working in an occupation with a designated skills shortage (20 points).
  •         Having a PhD in a subject relevant to their job role (10 points) or a PhD in a STEM subject (20 points).

There are other schemes that could let you bring workers into the country.

That includes health and care visas, intra-company transfers, and the youth mobility scheme.

A Seasonal Workers Pilot scheme for the agricultural sector will run until the end of 2020, with policy makers set to decide whether to renew the scheme further.  

Enjoy expert HR support through Brexit

Peninsula clients get access to 24/7 HR advice to help them through the Brexit transition period.

So, for expert support on how to manage your people and get the best for your business in 2021, please call your advice team today.

And if you’re not yet a client, you can still enjoy a free advice call from one of our business experts. Simply call us on 0800 028 2420

Suggested Resources