Industries such as food production, agriculture, hospitality and manufacturing face being fundamentally being changed forever by Brexit.
Brexit Hotline: 0207 936 9961
One question on the lips of employers in these and other sectors is, “what shape will EU recruitment take once Britain leaves the EU”? Even the best Immigration lawyers in London, where many EU workers reside, are unable to answer this question concisely.
To give an idea of the scale of the problem faced by some industries, consider figures provided by The Independent in a recent article:
- EU national workers make up more than 30% of all employees in the manufacture of food products, including jobs like processing cheese and meat, making baked goods and animal slaughter
- almost a quarter of domestic personnel such as housekeepers and carers come from the EU
- one-fifth of those recruited in the accommodation sector, hotels and other tourist industries, are EU citizens
So far, the government has been alarmingly ambiguous on how the recruitment of EU citizens will function after the UK formally leaves the union in 2019.
Suggestions by the government around EU citizen recruitment
There have been several possible models mooted by Prime Minister Theresa May for recruitment of EU workers after Brexit:
The Australian way
Prior to the EU referendum being held last June, the idea of having a Points-Based System, like the one used in Australia was raised. This system selects the migrants allowed into the country on their likely contribution to society and is aimed at encouraging skilled workers and those sponsored by employers.
Skilled workers are required to score at least 60 points to gain entry to the ‘lucky country’. These are awarded for factors including age, recognised qualifications and previous experience working abroad. For example, skilled employment earns up to 20 points and 25 to 32-year-olds automatically get 30.
The UK already has a similar system for non-EU migrants. The Points-Based System currently classifies non-EU nationals wanting to apply for visas into four Tiers, e.g. Tier 2 (General) or Tier 1 (Entrepreneur).
However, when it comes to EU workers, Theresa May has rejected the Points-Based System explaining, “A points-based system will not work and is not an option.” It is believed that Mrs May holds the view that an Australian-style system would not provide the rigidity needed for controlling immigration.
The Conservative government manifesto states that it wants to cut immigration numbers into the ‘tens of thousands’. An Australian style Points-Based System was rejected because it is not tough enough. If a Points-Based System is created for the recruitment of EU national workers, it could be very strict; for example, a restriction may be placed on EU workers bringing their families to live with them in the UK. The current Resident Labour Market Test and/or the Sponsorship licence scheme could be made tougher for employers wanting to hire talent from the EU.
Revisit Tier 3
Tier 3, which was a path intended for unskilled migrants, was never introduced, as it was viewed as unnecessary. Given that EU nationals make up much of the unskilled workforce in the UK, the Tier 3 visa may be revisited in the next few years. However, it must be said that the government has yet to state this as an option.
An implementation phase
The most likely situation is the status quo will apply to freedom of movement from the EU for a set period post-Brexit while trade deals with the bloc are negotiated. There is likely to be a caveat on this, however; EU nationals who come to the UK after a certain date are unlikely to have an automatic right to permanent residency after five years.
What should employers do?
Because there is no certainty around how the government will deal with EU citizen recruitment post-Brexit, employers can do little to prepare for it. If you currently have EU nationals working in your organisation, the advice from the best Immigration Solicitors is to help them apply for documentation to prove their residency rights. These documents can include Permanent Residence Cards, Registration Certificate or British citizenship, depending on how long they have lived in the UK.
We will keep you updated on the development of this key Brexit related issue.
OTS Solicitors is one of the most respected immigration law firms in London. By making an appointment with one of our Immigration Solicitors, you can be assured of receiving some of the best legal advice available in the UK today. Our business immigration solicitors, Teni Shahiean, Oshin Shahiean, Najma Ali and Dr Lusine Navasardyan, have extensive experience in assisting employers in all commercial immigration matters, including those related to Brexit.
If you wish to discuss any of the points raised in this blog, please phone our London office on 0207 936 9960.
- Business Immigration
- Sole Representative Visa
- Tier 2 Work Permit Visa and Sponsorship Licence
- Tier 2 Audit and Compliance
- Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence Application
- Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence Renewal
- Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence Revocation
- BREXIT, EU and EEA Applications, Permanent Residence Card and Appeals
For the best expert legal advice and outcome on your UK immigration application, contact OTS Immigration Solicitors on 020 7936 9960 or contact us online.
We are one of the UK’s top firms for Immigration Solicitors and civil liberties lawyers. We can advise on a broad range of immigration issues including Appeals and Refusals, judicial reviews, Spouse Visas, student visas, Work Permit Visas, Indefinite Leave to Remain, EEA Applications, asylum and human rights, British citizenship, All types of visas, Business Immigration Visas, Entrepreneur Visas and Investor Visas.
Our top Immigration Solicitors and lawyers are here to assist you.
Disclaimer: The information and comments on this page/site is made available free of charge and for educational and information purposes only. The information and comments do not amount to and are not intended to be adopted as legal advice to any individual or company. The use of this site should not be a substitute for specific legal advice, which we ask you to see our contact page or call our solicitors on 0207 936 9960.
By using this site you understand that there is no solicitor and client relationship between you/your company and the site owners or the firm. We make every effort to keep the published articles up-to-date and accurate, however the law changes very rapidly and the older the articles on this site, the more likely that the views in it have changed with the development of the law.
Posted on: Thursday, 13 April, 2017