Home Office Minister of State for Immigration says employers will have to check EU nationals' right to work in the UK in the event of a no-Brexit deal

Caroline Nokes recently told members of parliament that employers will have to check their EU employee’s eligibility to work in the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Despite the looming Brexit deadline Ms Nokes did not reveal how right to work checks for EU nationals would work. 

The expectation that employers will check whether EU nationals have the right to work in the UK if there is a no-deal Brexit will add to the burdens on human resource managers and employers. Top London immigration solicitors cannot assess how much additional red tape and paperwork this will generate for employers until the details of the proposed checks are revealed by the Home Office Minister of State for immigration and the accompanying detailed rules and regulations are drawn up by Home Office officials.

It is reported in the Guardian newspaper that Ms Noke’s comments about additional administrative checks and procedures for EU nationals have caused dismay among employers’ groups. The groups have apparently raised concerns that the Home Office may give them an impossible task to get to grips with new Home Office imposed immigration red tape with just five months left until Britain leaves the European Union and with no sign, as yet, of the details of the new right to work requirements.

When appearing before the home affairs select committee, the Home Office Minister of State for immigration said it would be the responsibility of employer companies who recruit EU nationals after Brexit to determine whether each individual EU national job applicant is eligible to work in the UK in the post Brexit world.

The minister went onto say that if an EU national had not been living in the UK prior to March 2019 it would be the duty of the prospective employer to make sure the company established if a job applicant had the right to work in the UK. This will be carried out through rigorous checks to evidence an EU employee’s right to work in the UK.

The Guardian newspaper reports on the apparent contradiction between a media briefing earlier this year when the Home Office indicated it would not require employers to conduct immigration checks on employees who are EU nationals.

During questioning by members of parliament at the home affairs select committee, Caroline Nokes acknowledged that it would be difficult for employers to carry out right to work checks on EU national employees, not least because it is said that longstanding residents from EU member states have a guaranteed 2 year period to go through the settled status programme. When questioned for details of the new proposed right to work checks on EU citizens the minister said she did not know the details, and would have to write to the committee at a later stage.

Top London immigration solicitors anticipate that any new right to work checks on EU nationals will be a minefield for employers because of the difficulty in distinguishing between classes of EU citizens.

EU citizens will have to apply for settled status to stay in the UK after the Brexit deadline, but the registration process is still being tested. It is reported that only about 650 of the estimated 3.5million EU nationals who will need to apply for settled status have gone through the registration process.

Although the Home Office minister confirmed that a new immigration bill would stop the free movement of people after Brexit and would prevent EU nationals from being able to automatically live and work in the UK, Caroline Nokes also said that determining EU national’s status would be difficult during the proposed 2 year transition period, whether or not a Brexit deal is agreed. 

With or without a Brexit deal, EU nationals should have until March 2021 to apply for settled status. There will therefore be a transition period, with it being acknowledged by the Home Office minister that it will be difficult to distinguish between an EU citizen arriving for the first time in the UK to live and find work and an EU national who has been in the UK for a significant period of time but who has not yet applied for their settled status but would be entitled to settled status if they were to make the application. 

The labour chair of the home affairs select committee, Yvette Cooper, challenged and questioned the Home Office minister on the detail and practicality of employers carrying out right to work checks on prospective employees who are EU nationals when there will be different categories of EU nationals with different rights to work in the UK. Whilst the Home Office minister could not give details of the proposed rules and regulations she did say that a pragmatic approach would be taken. Whether the Home Office view of a ’pragmatic’ approach is the same as top London immigration solicitors and employers views on what constitutes ‘pragmatic’ remains to be seen. This was the view taken by  Mike Spicer, director of economics and research at the British Chambers of Commerce who said that businesses could not plan for business on assurances but need the rules from the Home Office about how exactly the new right to work checks on EU nationals will operate if there is a no Brexit deal.

How OTS Solicitors can help

Top London employment law solicitors are proactive in keeping employers abreast of developments in right to work checks on EU nationals post Brexit. Employers will need the best immigration solicitors on their side given that Brexit is fast approaching and thus far employers do not know the details of the proposed right to work checks on EU nationals that they will be expected to adhere to.  At OTS Solicitors we pride ourselves on grasping the detail of new immigration and employment law legislation and rules and providing large and small companies with bespoke easy to follow immigration and employment law training services on right to work checks, compliance and prevention. 

At OTS Solicitors we recognise that Immigration Law and rules change rapidly creating potential problems for busy human resources managers and companies. Our proactive immigration and employment law advice and training programmes are designed to demystify what is a complex and confusing area of law, especially with the continuing Brexit uncertainties and the limited time available for companies to plan for changes in Immigration Law. At OTS Solicitors expert immigration and employment law help is at hand.  

OTS Solicitors are specialist in Immigration Law and employment law matters. The firm is recommended for Immigration Law by Legal 500. OTS Solicitors have Law Society accredited solicitors as trusted specialists in Immigration Law. For more information on any aspect of business immigration law or employment law please call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our experienced London immigration solicitors who will be happy to help.

 

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