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Following the new deadline for leaving the EU being set for 31 October 2019, businesses still have time to plan and prepare for any impact the departure from the EU might have. Despite all the uncertainty, businesses should not delay in their preparations. Although the deadline is 31 October, a deal could be agreed upon and a withdrawal bill could be ratified by MPs at any time.

HR professionals should take advantage of the time they have now to ensure that their EU National employees (and indeed their EU/non EU family members) are securing settled or pre-settled status with the EU Settlement Scheme. In our experience the process is relatively straightforward, though applying through the android app can be fiddly. Further complications can arise if applying from oversees or for those non-EEA family members of EU Nationals.

Although the deadline for the EU was delayed, causing even more uncertainty for businesses, it has nevertheless given businesses additional time and opportunity to effect any plans to hire or transfer EU National staff to the UK, enabling them to secure their residence in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme at little or no cost. This means that they will be able to work in the UK freely without being subject to onerous conditions being placed on them and without the burden of any immigration application fees which could occur in a post Brexit world.

Similarly, businesses in EU member states should encourage and assist employees who are British Nationals to obtain their immigration status to enable them to work in which ever EU country they are living and working in. Businesses should also consider and plan to recruit talented individuals or specialist skills staff before we exit the EU. Doing so will help businesses through the foreseeable future so that in the event we finally do leave the EU, they have adequate access to a talent pool allowing them to reassess and formulate their recruitment strategy in the future.

The current view is that if and once we leave the EU, EU Nationals wishing to enter the UK to work will have to make an application for a Tier 2 visa (permission to work) in the same way as non EU Nationals have to currently.

If you wish to discuss this topic further or have any other questions, please contact the Head of Immigration, Dhruti Thakrar, or any member of the Immigration team.

Edwin Coe LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership, registered in England & Wales (No.OC326366). The Firm is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. A list of members of the LLP is available for inspection at our registered office address: 2 Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn, London, WC2A 3TH. “Partner” denotes a member of the LLP or an employee or consultant with the equivalent standing.

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