It is clear that the vote to leave the EU will in due course have a major impact on employers employing EU workers but it should be borne in mind that no changes will be made over night. In view of Prime Minister Cameron’s resignation, the new Prime Minister will need to take stock of the implications of the Leave vote during exit negotiations, which could take up to two years.

The Leave campaign had said that those who are already in the UK would be allowed to stay. Jonathan Portes, the former Treasury economist had stated that: “Given we have no population register, and that EU nationals are not required to have visas, we won’t actually know who is here on 23 June”. Portes said: “The most likely arrangement is that suggested by Steven Woolf, UKIP’s migration spokesman, that anyone who’d registered for a National Insurance number before the referendum would be guaranteed residence rights.”

However there is no room for complacency. EU Nationals already working in the UK should apply for permanent residence or citizenship as soon as possible if they are eligible.

The vote to leave will have no doubt brought with it considerable uncertainty to those businesses which are run by EU Nationals and those which employ EU workers as they do not know how these changes impact on their ability to employ EU Migrants in the future, their pay, and pensions. So far businesses have been able to employ EU workers without restrictions and have been subject to EU Regulations with regard to the provision of social security and benefits in relation to their employees, this will change.

The ability of UK businesses to access a highly mobile workforce with skills of varying degrees will be restricted. New legislation will more than likely be brought in where by new EU workers will have to apply for Immigration approval to enable them to work in the UK or set up businesses in the UK. It remains to be seen what requirements will be put in place as to the salaries they are paid and if any minimum skill requirements will be introduced.

Free movement of EU workers should still apply during the two years of negotiations which will now take place, so people could still come from elsewhere in the EU, but their immigration status after Brexit would be uncertain.

We will continue to monitor the situation and share the findings as they develop. If you have any further enquiries or concerns, please contact Dhruti Thakrar – Head of Immigration, or any member of the Immigration team at Edwin Coe.

Please note that this blog is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content of this blog.

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