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Employment law advice for no-deal Brexit

PUBLISHED: 08:58 19 September 2019 | UPDATED: 08:58 19 September 2019

Employers can support any employees who are EU citizens, and ensure they are aware of the process for applying for settled status in the event of a no-deal Brexit   Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Employers can support any employees who are EU citizens, and ensure they are aware of the process for applying for settled status in the event of a no-deal Brexit Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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James Conley, a solicitor in the employment team at Steeles Law, offers some advice on getting prepared for a no-deal Brexit.

James Conley, Steeles Law   Picture: Steeles LawJames Conley, Steeles Law Picture: Steeles Law

It's probably fair to say that British politics is in a somewhat volatile state at the moment, with more questions being asked of our constitution than ever before. Should the Queen have suspended parliament? Will it stay suspended, or will the Supreme Court find that it was unlawfully prorogued? If so, will it make a difference to anything? Does anyone care anymore?

With no sight of any deals being done, it looks like Boris Johnson remains set on leaving the EU at 11pm on 31 October regardless. So what are the implications of a no-deal Brexit on employment law here in the UK and how can you prepare yourself and your business in the run up to B-Day?

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Firstly, make arrangements for British staff that will be travelling to the EU on business. Although they will be exempt from the visa requirements for up to 90 days in a 180-day period - this is specifically in relation to visiting only. After a no-deal Brexit, British citizens will not be able to undertake paid work without obtaining the relevant visa. So you should ensure you and, where necessary, your staff have the correct paperwork if you are travelling to an EU member state on business. Travel to Ireland will not change as it is covered by a specific arrangement.

British citizens will also need to have a passport which is valid for at least six months from the time they enter the EU. Be aware that some British passports are issued for more than 10 years in total but only the first 10 years of validity can be counted towards this six-month requirement. There is a government-produced calculator that people can use to check whether they have enough time left on their passport to cover a visit.

Finally, consider supporting any employees who are EU citizens, in what must be an unsettling time. Remind them that, even in a no-deal scenario, they can apply for settled status up until 31 December 2020 if they have lived in the UK for at least five years at the date of the application. Those who have lived in the UK for less than five years can still apply for pre-settled status in that time frame. This should provide some comfort for any EU workers you have while also preventing a mass exodus after 31 October due to them being forced to return to their country of origin. Again, Irish citizens will not need to do anything.

Once prepared, all there is left to do is sit and wait… and hope for the best!

Contact James and the team on 01603 598000 or employment@steeleslaw.co.uk for all employment related matters.

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