How would Brexit affect hiring of EU workers for firms?

How would Brexit affect hiring of EU workers for firms?

Brexit could have many consequences for British companies, when it comes to new employment regulations and the future of law in this country. However, it will also create issues with hiring for businesses nationwide, potentially leaving them liable for checking that people are allowed to work in this country, which could become trickier on the back of an exit from the EU.

So how will the potential Brexit affect hiring for British companies, and will it become illegal to hire those coming from the EU? We take a look at some opinions on the matter.

One of the main opinions that seems to be doing the rounds at the moment is that the issue will largely still be up in the air for some time, even if Britain does vote to leave the EU, with many months of negotiations likely to come after the vote.

Ian Cass, managing director of the Forum of Private Business, said that it may not automatically be the case that EU workers are banned from freely coming to work and live in the UK, and that this is something that would be decided by the EU and the UK government jointly in the period after a potential vote to leave.

He cited the cases of Switzerland and Croatia as indicators of how complex and differing the employment issue can be. For example, in the Swiss case, workers are afforded the same rights to live and work within the EU as most EU nationals, despite not being a member state. However, the same concessions are not afforded to those who come from Croatia in most cases.

“It will ultimately depend on the negotiations that take place after any vote to leave,” Mr Cass told the Guardian. He also went on to say that the issue is largely likely to put the responsibility on companies to make sure their workers are legally allowed to be employed in the UK, which could add more stress, especially for smaller businesses.

“Whatever happens, the onus will still be on the employer to check that the new recruit is allowed to work within the UK, something that is not always straightforward. If you are looking at recruiting EU nationals over a longer period of time, it is worth looking at the options open to non-EU nations such as sponsoring an employee and building the costs into a long term business strategy,” he said.

Catherine Barnard, professor in European Union law and employment law at the University of Cambridge held a similar view on the matter, telling the Guardian that it’s unlikely anything will change overnight in employment law following the vote.

“One form that new relationship might take is for the UK to join the European Economic Area (EEA) – the “Norway’ option”. This would guarantee the UK’s access to the single market, including free movement of workers, so, in regard to this question, very little would change,” she added.

Ms Barnard cautioned against the UK leaving the EU, by saying that if no such agreements are put in place, then there could be issues for smaller companies, who have to deal with visas, immigration issues and checks for employees whom they did not have to worry about in the past.

Source: The Guardian


Jane Crosby

Partner, Dispute Resolution & Accredited Mediator

Jane is an employment and commercial litigation solicitor of more than 15 years' experience. Prior to entering the legal profession, Jane was employed in the...

Partner, Dispute Resolution & Accredited Mediator

Jane Crosby

Jane is an employment and commercial litigation solicitor of more than 15 years' experience.

Prior to entering the legal profession, Jane was employed in the aviation industry. This experience is appreciated by many of Jane's clients who note that she is able to take a commercial and pragmatic approach to any legal issue that they face.

Jane acts for a wide range of individuals and businesses and her areas of specialism include aviation, property related industries and IT. Jane regularly advises on aspects of employment law, such as settlement agreements, employment contracts, policies and procedures, redundancies, equal pay, data protection, issues arising from TUPE and reorganisations, the calculation of holiday pay, bonus and commission payments, disciplinary and grievance issues, dismissal and termination issues, the protection of confidential information and the enforcement of restrictive covenants. Jane gets involved in GDPR training for her clients and she is able to deliver tailored employment law training sessions upon request.

As a commercial litigation lawyer, Jane also deals in shareholder and directors disputes, commercial contract disputes and the enforcement of restrictive covenants.

Jane has been involved in successful high value commercial litigation for clients in the High Courts, she is an accredited mediator and she is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association.

Jane is often asked to write for a number of well known publications, including The Daily Mail, The Telegraph and The Week and she has been interviewed on BBC Radio 4.

Here is small selection of the feedback that Jane has received:

“Jane, I cannot sincerely thank you enough for your wise counsel and am delighted to have made your acquaintance. If I am blessed with a new position somewhere I will hand over my contract in the first instance to you. Likewise, any of my friends, peers, romans and countrymen wanting advice, I will point them in your direction.”

“Jane, you have been most resilient on my behalf for which I sincerely thank you for all your endeavours. I have a tremendous working relationship with Hart Brown and you have undoubtedly compounded this further."

“I appreciated the clarity of advice given at a stressful time”.

“A sensitive and highly professional approach and efficient work in the interests of the client”.

“Your advice, conduct and assistance have been indeed outstanding and very professional but also – and most importantly – very humane”.

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