Well, are any of us surprised? It’s all kicking off at Westminster.
Since the final release of the proposed Brexit deal, drama has heaped upon drama. Fevered speculation is rife - claims of treachery, resignations, talk of a new Prime Minister, even a new government!
This is fascinating and exciting stuff for the political commentators. But not so jolly for those who might be most affected by the Brexit outcome. That includes business people. Business people just like you and me.
Shrinking talent pool
The issue has recently lurched sharply into focus - for a simple reason. Employment has seen a sharp rise, while candidate availability is declining. Surveys are reporting that increasing numbers of EU nationals are returning home. Reasons include improvements in employment prospects and conditions back home. There have also been reports of a discernible increase in antipathy by sectors of British society. This all points towards a shrinking talent pool, across both skilled and unskilled industries.
Not all chaos
But there’s good news. In spite of what the media would have us believe, it’s not all chaos at the heart of government. In recent months, the Home Office has been offering guidance to business, in certain key areas. One of these is the topic of freedom of movement and the right to work for EU nationals - both non-British citizens working here in the UK and UK citizens employed in elsewhere in the EU.
But here’s the good news. The Home Office is supplying employers, industry groups and community groups with the means to give EU citizens practical advice on how to apply for settled status, following Brexit. Ths guidance comes in the form of a new toolkit. The toolkit is published on GOV.UK and contains how-to guides, briefing packs, practical plans, leaflets and posters.
Reaching out to all UK-based EU citizens
When making the announcement, The Home Secretary explained -
“Our settlement scheme will offer security and certainty to EU citizens living in the UK. Once the scheme has launched, employers, industry groups and charities will play a vital role in ensuring they can secure their status quickly and easily. The toolkit will help us to reach out to all EU citizens living in this country and help them get their new immigration status.”
Matthew Fell, CBI Chief UK Policy Director, responded -
“EU workers provide crucial skills and labour to businesses of all sizes and sectors throughout the UK, and pay taxes that help fund public services. Employers have worked with the Government to ensure information about claiming ‘settled status’ is valuable and accessible. We’ll be asking our members to share the new toolkit with everyone who’ll find it useful.”
Pilot scheme already underway
The Home Office will phase in the settlement scheme later this year and will be fully open by 30 March 2019. The deadline for applications will be 30 June 2021.
The first pilot is already underway - with NHS trusts and universities in the north-west of England. As it learns from the scheme, The Home Office will continue to engage with stakeholders - employers, local authority representatives and community groups.
Now is certainly the time for businesses to review their internal processes for checking their non-British employees’ rights to work. We should all be keeping a weather eye on developments in this critical field.
At Gravitas HR, we keep up to date with developments in Employment Law. If you’re in any doubt about the settlement rights of your employees, act soon. Get in touch. Remember - we’re here to help.
For straight-talking HR advice - 01604 763494
Or email - info@GravitasHR.co.uk