Karen Kaur writes for HR magazine – EU nationals must assume ‘worst case scenario’ post Super Saturday

HR magazine invited Karen Kaur to write for this week’s edition. After MPs voted to withhold approval on the Brexit deal, what advice does Migrate UK’s Senior Immigration Consultant have for EU nationals wanting to remain in the UK after 31 October?

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Government commits to end free movement of workers from the EU. Recruiter magazine speaks to Karen Kaur

Boris Johnson’s government has commited to end free movement of workers from the EU. Employers urged to act fast on lower-skilled EU workers.

Speaking to Recruiter after the Queen’s speech at the state opening of parliament, Karendeep Kaur, senior immigration consultant at Migrate UK, said: “If you have forecast that you need X number of individuals and they might be from Europe, get them into the UK prior to 1 November.”

Kaur explained that if the UK does leave the EU on 31 October without a deal, employers that wait any longer risk losing lower-skilled staff. “In a no-deal scenario, anybody entering the UK from 1 November, and wishing to work will need to apply for the new Euro Temporary Leave to Remain (Euro TLR) visa,” she said.

However, she warned that this temporary leave to remain is valid only for three years and cannot be extended, leaving workers who wish to continue to remain in the UK subject to the immigration rules at the time – which under the government’s plans, is likely to be a Australian-style, points-based system. Immigration lawyers differ on when exactly such a system will be put in place, with some saying “the beginning of 2021”, and others “well into 2021”.  

Given that the proposed current minimum salary threshold for the proposed points-based system is £30,000 – although this may come down – “those lower-skilled workers will not qualify under any other work status, and will therefore be less likely to be able to stay on another visa”, said Kaur. Anyone who does not qualify for another type of visa will then be considered an ‘over-stayer’ by the Home Office and risks being deported.

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Points-based migration system – to encourage migrants to work outside of London?

Seeking opinions after the Queen’s speech at the state opening of parliament, Francis Churchill from People Management magazine spoke to Karen Kaur.

The senior immigration consultant at Migrate UK is concerned that an Australian-style system threatened to sideline lower-skilled migrants, but believes that for EU citizens, the decision of a deal or no-deal Brexit is still at the forefront of their status, prior to any implementation of an Australian points-based system.

“Until we have clarification, EU nationals must assume a worst-case scenario and protect themselves.”

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Newly announced points based immigration system

In a speech at the Conservative Party’s annual conference on the 3rd of October, the Home Secretary announced the government will introduce a points-based immigration system similar to Australia, once Britain leave the EU.

People Management magazine contacted Karen Kaur for her comments.

‘The Home Secretary’s approach would allow for the UK government to more directly control it’s borders, as the visa would be granted to the skilled migrant, rather than allocated to an employer.’

However Karen believes that this approach focusses on the brightest and best talent, so risks sidelining lower skilled migrants whose industries are experiencing skills shortages.

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Concerns some EU citizens could be incorrectly denied settled status

With a backlog of 150,000 outstanding cases, there are concerns that some EU citizens could be being incorrectly denied settled status, receiving instead the less secure pre-settled status.

People Management spoke to Migrate UK’s MD. Jonathan Beech believes such incidents were becoming an increasing concern. The backlog could be pushing authorities into rushing decisions over EU citizens’ rights to stay.

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CIPD survey – employers unaware of post-Brexit visa rules

People Management magazine contacted Karen Kaur for her response to the CIPD report. This report has found that most employers in the UK are unaware of proposed changes to immigration rules that could make it more difficult to source lower-skilled workers after Brexit.

The CIPD report surveyed 2,182 employers, and found 58 per cent of businesses had no knowledge of the government’s plans to introduce a new skills-based migration system after the UK leaves the EU, which were outlined in a 170-page whitepaper published in December 2018.

The survey found 56 per cent of employers also said they didn’t have enough information to start making decisions about their post-Brexit recruitment strategy, with only a quarter (27 per cent) happy to make decisions based on the existing information.

Karen Kaur believes it was understandable that employers were not looking at the future, instead have a ‘right here, right now’ mentality. “If employers don’t know what’s happening now, then they aren’t going to be planning for the future,” she said.

“A lot of the CIPD report talks about retaining the talent we have already got, and EU employees can apply for settled status so they can potentially avoid new immigration rules in the future. But most are not looking that far ahead.”

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