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The rights of EU nationals post-Brexit

Updated: Feb 16

What could Brexit mean for businesses that employ EU workers?

Currently there is a lot of confusion surrounding Brexit and everyone is waiting for all the changes that are going to take place. For businesses, whether you’re an employee or an employer, Brexit in one way or another will probably affect your reality. But are there any steps anyone should take right now?

There are about 3 million EU nationals currently living in the UK and about 84% of them would already have the right to stay post-Brexit based on the 5-year rule which indicates they have been living in the UK for 5 years or more.

The EU workers who entered the UK before the exit and those who enter post-exit will most likely face different rules. Employers should be able to show that their workers were employed before the exit. There is a possibility of a points-based/sponsorship system that applies to non-EU workers now.

It’s important to make sure your employee’s employment is formalised and everything is up to date as it will ensure that you and your employee are able to prove their employment pre-Brexit.

rradar’s response – Josh Lee:

“Now Article 50 has been triggered, the countdown for the UK to leave the EU has begun. Nobody is quite certain what this means for employment rights in the UK, and for EU nationals currently working, or wanting to work, in the UK.

The government have suggested that a so called “Barista Visa” will be offered, allowing EU workers the right to continue to work in the UK. The government feel that the food service industry (coffee shops and pubs) will be particularly hit by Brexit, and therefore the “Barista Visa” will allow EU nationals the right to work in the UK on a 2-year visa. At this stage, it is just speculation and we are unsure if this will be put in place and what rights EU nationals will have post-Brexit. One thing is certain – it is going to be high on the agenda during the Brexit negotiations.

The UK exiting the EU will also affect employment rights across the UK. Although the UK has many employment rights that are better than the EU impose, we can’t be sure what the government will keep or lose post-Brexit. The likelihood is that the Working Time Directive, preventing employees working over 48 hours per week unless they opt out, will be scrapped.

In reality, it is very much a case of watch this space.”

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