Jonathan Beech, Managing Director of Migrate UK, comments in reaction to the referendum decision for the UK to leave the EU and how this will affect immigration laws for EUs living and working in Britain and British citizens residing in the EU.
“The referendum decision for the UK to leave the EU will see the introduction of costly policies for organisations that employ EU workers. Furthermore, thousands of EU migrants, currently in UK company roles, will potentially having to exit in the future if they fail to qualify under the current Points Based System that we use for workers outside the EU.
“All our clients already face big challenges and costs when hiring non-EU workers under UK immigration laws, which makes it hard to find the skills they need. The UK Government needs to urgently and comprehensively revise the current Points Based System to offer different criteria to employing EU nationals compared to non-EUs, if we’re to retain the talent we need.”
Thousands of existing EU workers will no longer qualify to the UK
“Unless there are transitional arrangements in place from the Government, which is not clear at this stage, current EU workers in the UK will now need to fall under UK immigration rules and the UK’s Points Based system.
“The Points Based System is geared towards attracting skilled migrants only with migrants requiring a certain level of English language.
“As with non-EU workers, hiring EU workers will now become a very selective process, depending on the technicality and seniority of the vacancy, the rate of pay and whether there are any settled UK workers available to fill the role.
“It’s unlikely that EU migrants currently residing in the UK as qualified persons, would be expected to comply to the Points Based System but the problem is when they stop being a qualified person such as if they stop working for three months or more, or become self-employed.
“These roles are vital for the UK economy so keeping the current system in place and limiting the number of EU workers to 100,000 a year or less would be devastating.
“New EU arrivals in the UK could find that their ability to live and work in the UK is now less certain and they could be vulnerable to new rules under consideration.”
New licence to hire EU workers could cost £7,000
“Whilst it won’t be clear for some time the extent of changes to immigration law, one thing that’s certain is that we will now see the introduction of a work sponsorship system for European workers similar to the current process in place for workers outside the EU. This means employees will face added administration, levies and surcharges, licence requirements and restrictions on employees.
“Under set changes to immigration laws to be enforced April next year, employees could be looking at a five year visa costing them in the region of around £7,000.
” It’s possible that companies will need to apply for an extended or separate sponsor licence to the one they hold for non-EU workers for permission to employ EU employees and, re-apply every four years.”
UK nationals residing in the EU
“UK nationals wanting to live or work in the EU and EUs wanting to do the same in the UK, will no longer have Freedom of Movement.
“Freedom of Movement allows EU citizens or British Nationals to reside in an EU member state as long as they are an employee, self-employed, a work seeker, a student or self-sufficient within three months of living there.
“It’s unlikely that each EU member state will adopt their own immigration laws for British citizens who wish to enter and remain. It’s important now for the Government to start, what will be a lengthy and complex, transitional period so those British citizens currently employed in an EU country and classed as “qualified person” will be able to remain under their current terms of employment and citizenship.”