BREXIT: Employing Workers from Overseas

23rd March 2017 by

The vote in favour of Brexit has led to uncertainty for many workers and businesses. Healys is here to try and help make the future more certain.

With increased globalisation pushing companies towards expanding internationally, businesses are increasingly looking at expanding their international workforce, as well as employing overseas workers. During the 43 years that the UK was a member of the EU, workers could move freely between member states, providing the UK with both skilled and unskilled workers, many of whom are still here today. With the results of the EU referendum, and the continued push towards Brexit, the change in the UK’s political immigrations stance means that the futures of many workers, both EU nationals as well as overseas workers remains in doubt, not to mention the future employment of such workers.

Approximately 60% of Britons are in favour of reducing net migration to the UK. The vote in favour of Brexit was widely accepted as a protest vote against an increased number of immigrants coming in to the UK, and while net migration in the UK continues to increase, there is an air of uncertainty on the future of foreign workers.

While the result of the EU referendum was in favour of Brexit, there have not yet been any changes to immigration policy; meaning qualifying workers are still entitled to live and work here without restriction, as well as certain family members. i.e. spouse and children under 21. If a qualified person, or their family, continues to stay here for over 5 years, they automatically acquire permanent residency, and can apply for supporting documentation.

Currently, minimum salary thresholds are looking to be increased to £30,000 by April 2017 for experienced workers. On top of this, employers may have to pay an Immigration Skills Charge of £1,000 each year of sponsorship. Nurses will continue to remain on the Shortage Occupation List, but this will be subject to a Resident Labour Market Test. Oversees graduates of universities in the UK will be given greater weighting in rCoS requests, as well as the ability to switch roles after their training. Non-shortage occupation roles which with which rCoS requests will be given extra weighting are; medical radiographers, paramedics and secondary school teachers of maths, physics, chemistry, computer science or Mandarin.

There are many likely outcomes for workers and employers in the wake of Brexit. For employers, the greatest impact likely to be seen is the changes in the freedom of movement of workers. The impact in terms of changes to the law is likely to be minimal. Most EU directives have already been implemented into Regulations, so while the EU may have no jurisdiction over UK courts, many EU policies will remain UK law. While the European Court of Justice will no longer have jurisdiction over UK courts, it is likely they will see future decisions made by the European Courts as persuasive. The Conservative party has also made it clear they do not want employers to be faced with a variety of changes in the law, so it is likely to keep most of the EU employment laws, while making minor adjustments to them.

Contact Healy’s Expert Employment Lawyers

We understand that the UK is still an international hub, and that companies increasingly need to look towards employing overseas workers, or expanding their international work force. We are here to help you with the legal issues surrounding employing overseas workers, particularly in the wake of Brexit, and the complications arising from this for both future and current employees.

If you are uncertain about the future of any employee, or are looking to employ overseas workers, call us on 020 7822 4000. Alternatively, you can email us from our website.