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

http://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2016/mar/29/would-brexit-make-harder-hire-eu-workers-referendum

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Jane Crosby

Partner, Dispute Resolution

Jane specialises in commercial litigation and employment law acting for both employers and employees in both contentious and non-contentious matters. She has also over recent...

Partner, Dispute Resolution

Jane Crosby

Jane specialises in commercial litigation and employment law acting for both employers and employees in both contentious and non-contentious matters. She has also over recent years carved out something of a niche in the field of mobile homes legislation acting for an owner with a number of sites.

Having studied geography at University College London Jane worked for a number of years in the aviation industry which has given her a real insight into the challenges faced by most businesses. Jane qualified as a Solicitor in 2004 before joining Hart Brown in 2011 and becoming a Partner in July 2018. Not only is Jane our specialist in employment law but she is also a prolific blogger within Hart Brown. You can find many of her articles on the 'News' section of the website.

Jane often receives praise from her clients:

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