Three months to get ready for Brexit’s immigration changes

by Matthew Lynch Solicitor & Senior Manager

Email +44 (0) 7701 296261

There are now three months left until the introduction of the new UK immigration system. Although negotiations remain ongoing in relation to a trade agreement between the UK and EU, the outcome of these will have no impact on the immigration changes due to take effect from 1 January 2021.

  • New EU arrivals to the UK from 1 January 2021 will need a visa allowing them to work before they can start employment.
  • All UK employers that want to employ new EU arrivals will need a Sponsor Licence (around 30,000 employers hold Sponsor Licences at present).
  • UK nationals will need a work permit for whichever EU country they will be working in with each EU country having its own distinct rules.
  • Short term business visits, with UK nationals travelling to the EU (and vice versa), will require restricted activities to avoid compliance issues.

PwC has surveyed over 100 companies with 50% confirming they are yet to provide communications to the business and their employees about the new system which brings free movement to an end and is the biggest change to the UK’s immigration system in over 40 years.

The UK Government has begun to release draft legislation on various aspects of the new immigration system, including the Frontier Worker Permit. There are actions that you can undertake now to protect your employees’ status in the UK that are significantly less costly with hardly any administrative burden.

What questions should employers be asking themselves right now?

1. Are you ready for the changes? Each business will be impacted differently by these changes so understanding what they mean for you will be crucial. Our free “Are You Ready” assessment will help you identify the areas most relevant to your business needs and prioritise your actions.

For those employers with a Sponsor Licence, now is the time to audit how well you are meeting your compliance requirements before the need for sponsorship extends to EU nationals. For those without a Sponsor Licence, consider whether you need to apply for one before the changes come into effect.

2. Have you communicated these changes? Whether it is EU nationals worried about their status in the UK, hiring managers who are looking at 2021 recruitment needs, business leads planning budgets or ensuring your frequent travellers are compliant with the new rules, communication will be key. Ensuring the right messages get to the right people will ensure business as usual, reduce the risks and associated sanctions of non-compliance and identify cost savings.

3. What about your business travellers? The days where a UK national can travel to the EU without first giving thought to the activities they will be conducting will soon be over, with the same applying to your colleagues in the EU travelling to the UK. This is an area we anticipate seeing significant financial and reputational risks to businesses as we move into 2021.

With business travel likely to be much reduced at present, now is the perfect time to review your existing business traveller processes and systems; with a view to undertaking the necessary pre-travel assessments, using our myTrips and myAtlas technology.


by Matthew Lynch Solicitor & Senior Manager

Email +44 (0) 7701 296261

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