Now we’ve voted to leave the EU, the free movement of workers will certainly be affected. However, changes to legislation are likely to be gradual rather than immediate.
While in theory citizens of EU member states no longer enjoy the automatic right to work in the UK (and vice versa), this will form part of negotiations to establish the UK’s new trading relationship with the EU.
EU nationals already employed in the UK may already have acquired rights under UK legislation, depending on how long they’ve been here. It’s likely that many will be permitted to stay in return for a similar agreement for UK nationals currently employed in EU member states.
For prospective employees, however, it may be a different story. While it will still be possible to employ personnel from EU member states, there may be extra administrative costs to be factored in, such as visa applications. An EU employee’s capacity to remain long-term in the UK may also be affected.
There may also be limitations on the type of workers that will be allowed to seek employment in the UK. If we choose to follow a model more like the US or Australia, visas may only be granted for those in professions identified as having a particular need.
While the full impact of Brexit is uncertain, our expert employment lawyers have extensive experience and can advise you on the best action for your business, following the leave vote.
Call us free on 0370 1500 100 or send our Referendum team an email with any questions.
Omer Simjee – Partner, Employment & Immigration
Telephone: +44 (0)121 214 5406
Mobile: +44 (0)771 115 5985