Implications of Brexit on carrying out work abroad
Businesses across the country are coming to terms with the implications of Brexit. For many, the rules of engagement have changed, and the most newsworthy issues seem to revolve around exports and imports.
However, even if your business doesn’t import or export goods to the EU, if you employ staff there may be other implications you now need to consider.
Employee visits to EU countries
If one of your employees needs to visit an EU country on business, even for one day, they may need a work permit. It depends on the type of work being conducted. For example, attending a trade show doesn’t need a work permit. However, if an employee intends to attend the trade show and sign a deal whilst there, they will need a permit. In addition, attending a meeting in an advisory capacity with a client in the EU, may also involve a work permit.
The requirements differ for each EU country so please ensure you check before your employee travels.
To find out more visit https://www.gov.uk/visit-eu-switzerland-norway-iceland-liechtenstein/business-travel-extra-requirements
Employing staff from the EU
If you currently have employees from within the EU, please be aware of the EU’s Settlement Scheme and the current rules:
- EU citizens living in the UK need to apply to the Scheme to be able to live and work legally in the UK beyond 30th June 2021.
- Applications may result in either Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status depending on how long the applicant has lived in the UK.
- The deadline for applying is 30th June 2021.
- EU citizens must have started living in the UK by 31st December 2020.
- EU citizens will usually get Settled Status if they have lived in the UK for a continuous five year period up to 31st December 2020.
- Settlement Status means indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
- EU citizens who have lived in the UK for less than five years will get Pre-Settled Status. With Pre-Settled Status they can continue to legally live and work in the UK for a further five years. They can switch to Settled Status once they’ve lived in the UK for over five years.
To find out more visit https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families
Although the responsibility falls to employees to make their application under the EU’s Settlement Scheme and it’s not for employers to make the application on their behalf, as an employer, you need to consider requesting proof your EU employees have applied. In addition, we recommend obtaining a copy of their Settlement Status.
It is also good practice to implement the following:
Recruiting within the EU
- Make sure they have the right information from the right source ie gov.uk and are not relying on rumour and speculation.
- Check if they need any help or support making applications.
- Encourage them to make an application at their earliest opportunity and not to leave it until the deadline.
- No one should be coerced into applying, instead provide training and awareness.
- Ensure all staff have access to a computer if they need one to complete the process.
- You can’t make employees prove their Settled/Pre-Settled status to you, but you can request it.
Right to work checks for new employees remain unchanged. Employers should continue to check and copy a new hire’s passport or ID card for evidence of right to work in the UK.
The route you follow to hire an overseas national, depends on the type of role, industry and salary you are recruiting.
Employers may wish to apply for a Sponsor License if they want to hire foreign nationals via the new points-based routes, ie Skilled Worker route. It does take time to make an application to be a licensed Sponsor and there is a cost attached. However, if your business model means you need people from the EU to fill vital roles in your business, and you already know you’re unlikely to fill those roles from within the UK, it’s worth getting your Sponsorship application underway soon.
Organisations who employ highly technical roles, whereby the skillset is hard to come by in the UK, or fruit pickers and care staff, may consider this route as these roles are traditionally hard to recruit within the UK.
To find out more visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/recruiting-people-from-outside-the-uk
As always, this guidance is correct as of publications date so please ask for help and support before making any decisions regarding this area of your people management just in case the guidance has changed.