Workforce and future skills needs

Under the Withdrawal Agreement, EU nationals and their family members who have lived in the UK for at least five years by 31 December 2020 will be able to apply for UK Settled Status. Those who have been here for less than 5 years, can apply for Pre-Settled status until they meet the full criteria. The EU Settlement Scheme will open fully by 30 March 2019 and the deadline for applying will be 30 June 2021.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal:

The deadline for EU nationals to apply for settled status would be 31 December 2020.

EU citizens arriving in the UK on or after 30 March 2019, for a visit of up to three months, will not require a visa and may continue to enter the UK, and evidence their right to work, using a valid passport or identity card.

EU citizens who wish to stay in the UK longer than 3 months, and up to 36 months, will need to make an application for European Temporary Leave to Remain.

EU citizens who wish to stay for longer than 36 months will need to apply and qualify under the terms of the UK’s new skills-based immigration system, which will begin from 1 January 2021.

Your business should consider

What percentage of your UK workforce is from the EU27?

Do your staff know the next steps to take to register as an EU citizen working in the UK?

What can you do to help retain skills and labour?

Resources and information

The EU Settlement Scheme will be fully open from 30 March 2019. Applications are free of charge and additional groups are now eligible to apply. 

The formal Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules and Explanatory Memorandum are available here.

The Home Office has published an Employer Toolkit which covers the key details of the EU Settlement Scheme, information and materials with which to support affected staff and their families: all you need to know here.

What can you do to support staff applying for the EU Settlement Scheme? Signpost them to further information and regular email updates from the Home Office.

Your staff can sign up for email updates for the UK's EU settlement scheme here.

The Government has published a policy paper explaining how the EU Settlement scheme would operate in the event of a ‘no deal’ EU exit.

The government has announced arrangements for EU citizens arriving in the UK in the event that the UK leaves the UK on 29 March without a deal and before the new skills-based immigration system is introduced at the beginning of 2021.

HO guidance on the EU Settlement Scheme Assisted Digital service: for applicants who don’t have the appropriate access, skills or confidence to complete the form.

Future staffing requirements

Further ahead, there will be changes to the UK’s immigration regime. The British Chambers of Commerce is advising the Home Office on this, using feedback from across the UK Chamber Network.

Your business should consider

What will be your skills and labour needs over the next few years?

Will you need to hire someone from outside the UK?

What steps will you need to take to hire them?

Could different arrangements (remote working) be feasible for your business? 

Consider how your future travel to the EU for the servicing of contracts or other purposes may be affected.

Are you and your employees aware of changes to UK passport rules for travel to Europe in the event of a no deal? UK Government guidance on passport rules for travel to Europe after Brexit.

Resources and information

Check the non-EEA visa requirements for the country you are visiting: 

If you transfer staff between businesses in your group, or run a graduate training scheme, restrictions may apply. Current non-EEA Intra Company Transfers fall under the UK’s Tier 2 sponsorship arrangements, with regulatory and record keeping requirements for employers.

The future skills-based immigration system white paper sets out the government's plans to introduce a new single immigration system, from January 2021, ending free movement. 

FCO has issued EU Exit information for UK nationals living in or travelling to and from the EU if there’s no deal - includes work, education, recognition of professional qualifications etc.

FCO information on the rights and status of UK nationals living in the European Union, European Economic Area (EEA) and European Free Trade Area (EFTA), and Switzerland.

Information on travel modes and what you may need to do to travel to or in the EU and EEA after the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019.

Staff may require a visa to undertake any work in the EU. Information on the rights of UK nationals travelling in the European Union, European Economic Area (EEA) and European Free Trade Area (EFTA), and Switzerland.