The British Chambers of Commerce has said a no-deal Brexit would cause significant changes to terms of trade, but businesses lack the information they need to plan accordingly. Key questions have been put to the government about the ability for staff to travel for work in Europe and the availability of skilled European labour in Britain if an exit deal is not agreed by 29 March.


Lauren Rebecca Brown from People Management spoke to Karen Kaur.

Despite the government issuing guidelines in regard to European leave to remain, Migrate’s Karen Kaur warns these are temporary measures.

Kaur advised businesses who know they want to recruit EU nationals to “get them into the country before 29 March” and ensure they are registered. 

EU citizens and their family members already resident in the UK by 29th March 2019 will be welcome to stay under the current rules of free movement. They will have until 31st December 2020 to make an application for ‘Settled’ or ‘Pre-settled’ status.

Once free movement has ended from 30th March 2019, EU citizens arriving from this date for the first time will require permission to remain under the UK immigration rules. For those wishing to stay for more than 3 months, they will need to apply for temporary leave to remain valid for 3 years. This allows work and study but is non-extendable. To stay longer or be able to re-enter, they will need to meet the UK skills based immigration system still under review;

Until the details of any skills-based system are settled, employers can no longer realistically use incoming EU nationals as part of a long-term staffing strategy. British Chambers of Commerce figures released in January revealed businesses across all sectors, particularly manufacturing, were already facing significant and increasing difficulties in recruitment.

With no indication yet of what minimum financial thresholds will exist under the skills-based migration system, any workers given temporary leave to remain may still face having to leave after three years.

“Medium and highly skilled workers are likely to meet the threshold, but lower-skilled workers would be most affected,” she added.

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