Employing EU workers – what does Brexit mean for you?

Following the outcome of Thursday’s referendum, Croner has seen a significant rise in calls from concerned business owners about the impact this result will have on their workforce, particularly those who employ large numbers of EU workers, such as the agricultural, care and service industries.

Businesses are currently feeling very vulnerable, not only from a workforce planning perspective, but the impact this will have from an administrative point of view.

foreign workers

Employing foreign workers

Currently citizens of EU Member States have an automatic and unrestricted right to work throughout the EU, including the UK. A significant number of employers supplement their workforce with EU nationals, which is a big issue to resolve following the Brexit vote.

The UK Government will take back control of borders and will likely reduce immigration. Work arrangements will obviously have to re-negotiate with the EU and its Member States and it is doubtful if the new arrangements would replicate the present freedom of movement.

For now at least it is business as usual, EU workers can continue to work for you. Any changes to immigration laws will probably only affect those who want to enter the UK after the exit takes place (which isn’t likely until 2018). After this point, it will be likely to be more difficult to employ anyone from the EU in the long term, but exactly what that means depends on the terms of the exit. If legislation is passed where EU workers need to obtain permission to stay in the UK, there will likely be a long “phasing in” period.

Croner CEO Alan Price has recently been interviewed by the BBC World Service on the subject of Brexit and foreign workers and the impact it is having on UK employers who use this vital resource. Concerns centre around Visas and the ability to hire and use these workers in the future and a move to a points-based system.

What should employers be doing now?

If you currently employ EU workers you should ensure that they have the right to work in the UK and have all the necessary visas and checks in place for non-EU Nationals. It is also a good opportunity to make sure all your policies and procedures are up-to-date to help future-proof your organisation.

Croner is offering a complementary Business Post-Brexit Healthcheck. This practical onsite review will ensure that your current working practices are up-to-date, including visa applications, pre-employment checks, document and contract reviews, workforce/contingency planning and the types of contracts you may now need to have in place. To take advantage of this service call the Croner team on 0844 728 0127 or email enquiries@croner.co.uk.