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Hiring Employees from the EU Post Brexit

As Theresa May and the UK government flounder over Brexit, thousands of businesses remain uncertain about what the future holds.

How imports and exports will be affected, for example, is one concern. Perhaps the biggest concern of all, however, relates to recruitment and the process of finding and employing talent from abroad. With this in mind, here we examine hiring employees from the EU post Brexit.

The New Brexit Secretary

In the wake of David Davis’ resignation, the Prime Minister has appointed Dominic Raab as the new Brexit secretary. Given Raab’s record, this move is unlikely to inspire confidence in UK business owners who are worried about being able to hire employees from the EU post Brexit.

It has been highlighted that Dominic Raab wrote a paper, in 2011, that called for opt-outs on regulations set out by the EU on worker’s rights. These included their rights to time off and limits on how many hours they may be made to work.

It is feared that with this type of track record, Raab and the Conservative government may seek to use Brexit to help remove protections that currently are enforced by EU laws. It stands to reason that if this were to transpire it would make the process of recruiting workers from the EU all the more problematic. Shadow Brexit minister Paul Bloomfield commented:

“The new Brexit secretary has long harboured ambitions to slash vital workplace protections and rights, and the prime minister has now put him in a position to do so. This latest blow for workers comes a few days after the cabinet failed to rule out a race to the bottom with the EU on crucial employment protection. It’s become abundantly clear once again that this chaotic Tory government cannot be trusted with people’s rights after Brexit.”

What May Hiring from the EU Look Like Post Brexit?

In the first instance EU migrants may be limited from entering the UK, post Brexit, unless a qualified job offer has been made. The administrative costs may increase dramatically, making the overall price of employing EU workers unsurmountable for some companies. And it may be much more difficult for workers to bring their families with them if they take up job roles in the UK.

What Employers Who Want to Hire from the EU Can Do

Currently, the checklist of things to do when hiring workers from abroad includes items such as:

  • Checking their rights to work in the UK
  • Issues concerning the payment of National Insurance
  • Tax exemptions for those who are on secondments
  • Arrangements for PAYE

The problem with trying to amend the checklist, so that it tallies with a post Brexit landscape, is that nobody knowns how that landscape will look. So then, what can employers do to prepare?

Looking at what the requirement may be for recruiting from overseas is, perhaps, the first step on this precarious journey. For instance, knowing that you are likely to need around 10 workers from the EU puts you in a position where you can start to budget for that.

In addition, companies should seek to get the latest legal updates from immigration lawyers or other professional experts. This will give them the ability to adapt their recruitment policies and procedures accordingly. Supporting human resource departments and others who are responsible for employing staff will be paramount as details emerge regarding how the laws and regulations will change post Brexit.

Ultimately this is a waiting game and those businesses who are best informed and prepared for the changes are those who will be able to navigate them with the most ease.