Support for your business throughout the Christmas period
The best place for you to get the latest business preparedness guidance as it is released over the Christmas period is our Brexit bulletin. This will be updated every day up to 24 December, and from 28 December – 1 January. We’ll update this page from 4 January. You can also:
- Head to gov.uk for the latest guidance for business
- Email EUnegotiations@cbi.org.uk with any burning questions (members only).
With over 3 million EU nationals already living in the UK, over 1 million UK nationals living in the EU, and thousands of employers needing continued access to labour and skills from the EU to grow, it’s vital to be aware of how the end of the transition is likely to impact both current staff and future hires. Companies that can support current employees will be more likely to retain them and considering future immigration rules should be part of talent planning and skills investment post-Brexit.
The guidance on this page represents the information currently available from government. The CBI will update this page as new information is released.
The UK's points-based immigration system comes into full effect on 1 January 2021 when the Brexit transition period ends. The CBI have published a new guide: To the point: the employer guide to the UK's new points-based immigration system, to help businesses prepare for the new system and provides practical advice on how best to engage with it.
Key challenges for business
How will the end of transition impact EU nationals currently working in the UK?
EU nationals already resident in the UK will be able to stay and have their rights protected after the end of transition and in the event of no deal, except those with major criminal convictions. If the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified, EU citizens resident in the UK before the end of transition will have six months from that date to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. For EU nationals who arrive by 31 December 2020, the scheme is open until 30 June 2021 to enable them to secure their status under the scheme. Frontier workers will also be able to continue to travel from another member state such as Ireland or France to the UK daily for work. You can find out more about the frontier work permit here.
There is no overnight change in employers’ legal obligations. Right to work checks remain the same until the new immigration system comes into force from 2021.
How will the end of transition impact UK nationals currently working in the EU?
EU member states have each established different processes for UK citizens to register to stay after a no deal scenario. These mostly reciprocate the UK’s offer to EU citizens in terms of rights, but some – like Denmark – have only provided this on a temporary basis, and some do not address continuity for the professional qualifications these individuals possess. They also provide different timeframes for registration – with the deadline for UK citizens in Germany coming in January 2020 and UK citizens in France coming in April 2020.
The impact on UK nationals working in the EU in the event of a deal would depend on the outcome of negotiations between the UK and the EU.
How will the end of transition impact hiring EU nationals in the UK?
EU nationals will continue to be able to travel to the UK and take up employment – on the same basis as now – until 31 December 2020.
EU citizens arriving between 30 March 2019 and 31 Dec 2020 will be able to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain (Euro TLR) immigration status. This is a 36 month temporary immigration status, after which individuals will need to apply to the new immigration system – which is due to come into operation from 2021.
Employer right to work checks will not change until 1 January 2021, with passport and ID cards still valid. Employers will not be required to undertake retrospective checks on existing EU employees.
In the event of a deal, employers will not be required to ’tell the difference’ between EU staff already in the UK who have not yet applied for the EU Settlement Scheme, and new arrivals after the end of transition. However, it is unclear how employers should undertake right to work checks for individuals arriving after the end of transition but before the end of the EUSS application period (as they cannot require information about EUSS applications to be provided). It is also unclear whether employers will be asked to verify the right to work of these individuals at a later point.
How will travel for short term work and ‘fly in fly out’ services change after the end of transition?
The activities are allowed under ‘business visitor’ definition’ are likely to be limited to a small number of permitted activities after the end of the transition period. The rules will depend on the EU27 country being visited, where new passport and border requirements are likely to apply.
Employers should familiarise themselves with business visitor rules of the UK and relevant EU27 countries. You can find more information here. You can read advice about travelling to specific countries, including travel entry requirements. To find out more about going abroad for work, check the guidance for travellers visiting the EU.
After the end of the transition period, businesses will have to obtain an Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) visa for EU nationals to work in the UK on work-assignments. ICT migrants can hold ICT leave for up to five years in any six-year period in the UK. For more information see page 44 of the new CBI guide.
In the event of a no deal, UK citizens will not need a visa when travelling to the Schengen area for short stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. However, it is unclear what rights UK nationals would have to travel for short-term work in EU countries in the event of no deal. UK nationals will likely default to the differing immigration rules of individual member states regarding third country nationals’ right to work.
What are the implications of the end of transition for the Common Travel Area?
The ability for British and Irish citizens to move freely and reside in the UK, Crown Dependencies and Ireland will continue. Additional rights to work, study, vote in certain elections, access social welfare benefits and health services for British and Irish citizens will not change.