Brexit update – The Right to Work in the UK

Following the events of this week, there continues to be no clear way forward with Brexit.  From an employment perspective, whether a withdrawal agreement is in place by 29th March 2019 (or a later date if an extension is agreed) or not, we don’t anticipate that Brexit will have an immediate impact on employment law as existing legislation, even where based on EU legislation, are in fact UK laws.

However, there is uncertainty with regard to the free movement of people as a result of the lack of a withdrawal agreement. Should the UK leave the EU without a deal on 29th March 2019 then freedom of movement would cease on that date.  In this scenario EU nationals living in the UK by 29th March 2019 must register for settled, or pre-settled, status by no later than 31 December 2020. This settled status will allow the individual to live and work in the UK permanently.

EU nationals who arrive after 29th March 2019, but before 31st December 2020, will be able to enter the UK by showing their ID card or passport and remain for 3 months. If they wish to stay longer they will need to apply to the Home Office for temporary leave to remain within this 3 month period. Such leave to remain, if granted, will be for 36 months and will include permission to work and study.

In a no deal scenario, when undertaking right to work in the UK checks for EU citizens organisations should establish if the individual has settled status or temporary leave to remain which would allow them to work in the UK (of course temporary leave to remain would be for a maximum of 39 months).

We will issue further guidance as and when we know more on a potential withdrawal agreement.