“At last we are finally approaching the end of the first stage of the preliminary phase of the opening chapter of part one of Brexit…..” Frankie Boyle

So the 31 March came and went and we are no closer to leaving the EU, however, Kelly attended a seminar last week with REC, KPMG and Fragomen LLP. They were presenting on what is happening now, what we should be doing, along with advice and guidance for us to share:

There is still the possibility of a “No Deal” scenario still being on the table…… Whilst we are waiting for an outcome, has your business looked at this scenario and put a contingency plan in place? If not then this is the time to look at it…. Just because the Brexit deadline was extended, doesn’t mean that a “No Deal” wont happen. There are also a number of other scenarios still on the table, however, we think you are better waiting to see who the new leader will be and then waiting to hear what their new plan is before you look at anything else. In the mean time, keep going and try not to get distracted by all the political hype around the leadership contest.

KPMG explained that some of their clients are looking at “Succeeding Through Brexit” in 3 phases:

  • Stability–ensuring that the business is able to continue whatever  happens.
  • Cost management and profit improvement –using the opportunity to focus on efficiency and releasing funding for investment.
  • Growth–getting ahead of the competition through increased productivity and driving profitable sales.

“Research shows that organisations that export tend to be more profitable, innovative and resilient” Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP

Whilst looking at your business and planning ahead, there are a number of things that you can look at and review:

Supply Chain –

  • Has your Board considered how much exposure they’re prepared to carry?
  • Have you reviewed any potential changes to your customers?
  • Have you mapped out your end-to-end supply chain?

Tax / Tariff exposure – 

  • Have you considered any changes to your customs/ borders arrangements?
  • Have you considered a Trusted Trader/ AEO route?
  • Have you looked at your import/ export duty scenario to work out how much duty you might need to pay on WTO tariffs?
  • Have you considered which customs duty routes to adopt to get to ‘wave through’ status?

Regulatory changes – 

  • Will you require legal advice to meet the requirements on any regulatory change?
  • Have you thought about how technology can support you to meet any regulatory change requirements?

Back office functions (IT, HR, Finance) – 

  • Have you analysed the cost impact of your back office operations?
  • Have you modelled how any regulatory changes may affect your back office functions?

Workforce Availability – 

  • Have you considered whether your supply chain could have a shortage of skilled workers?
  • Have you assessed whether your workers are legally entitled to work in the UK?
  • Have you considered your employee footprint?
  • Have you considered the impact of inflation to retain your top talent?

For a more detailed view on a fantastic Brexit toolkit, you can click on the KPMG page here  

Laurence Keir-Thomas from Fragomen LLP who are Immigration Specialists went into detail about the rights of EU and EAA citizens which could be a large proportion of your workforce at the moment.

A Brexit transition period will run until 31 December 2020, during which time EU nationals will retain free movement rights in the UK. EU nationals living here before the end of the transition period will need to make an application for immigration status. From 1 January 2021, free
movement will end and EU Nationals will be subject to an immigration system

In the case of a Deal, Revised Deal or Brexit delayed scenario;  EU nationals will have until 30 June 2021 to make an application for Pre- Settled or Settled Status.

What does “Settled Status” mean? 

  • An EU / EAA national has been living and working in the UK for over 5 years continuously

e.g:

  • Frank is French.
  • He moved to the UK in 2004 and has not broken his residence in the UK.
  • Frank has already accrued the 5 years needed for Settled Status and can make an application from within the UK.

What does “Pre – Settled Status” mean? 

  •  An EU / EAA national who has been living and working in the UK for more than 2 years, but less than 5.
  • Once they reach 5 years, they can apply for settled status.

e.g:

  • Jurgen is German.
  • He arrived in the UK in March 2018.
  • He can apply for Pre-settled Status.
  • Jurgen could qualify for settled status at the 5 year point, if he does not break residence.
  • He wants to take a 5 month assignment to Italy in 2019.
  • As Jurgen will be overseas for under 6 months this will not break residence required for his settled status after 5 years. He can therefore apply for settled status in March 2023

In case of a No Deal, there will be no transition period.

  • The EU Settlement Scheme will only be open to EU nationals resident in the UK before the Exit Date
  • EU nationals will have until 31 December 2020 to make an application for pre-settled or settled status

On 28 January 2019 the Home Office online right to work system went live. In addition to manual right to work checks, it is now possible to complete right to work checks online. These online checks are available for EU nationals holding pre-settled or settled status or foreign nationals holding a biometric residence permit.
Once obtained, your employee will share a code permitting access to their online profile. You will be able to take a copy/screenshot as proof of visa check.
Until the end of the transition period, checking a valid EU passport is sufficient to establish a statutory excuse against illegal working.

Brexit is uncertain, but a lot is known about citizens’ rights and what it means for our people and our job candidates. If there is a deal, European people living in the UK before 1 January 2021 should be able to stay permanently once they have five years residence, but they will need to make an
application. We can help your employees and job candidates by explaining their entitlements, the process they should follow and directing them to make timely applications.

If you would like any more information about this then please do not hesitate to contact Kelly on 01723 313505 or email her at kelly.dunn@kdrecruitment.co.uk