Several important employment law reforms have come into force recently or will come into force shortly, both at the EU and French level. Below are some of the changes to expect for 2019:
On 28 January 2019 the UK Government published guidance for EEA and Swiss citizens arriving in the UK after 29 March 2019 in the event of a “no deal” Brexit.
Individuals will still be able to enter the UK to visit, work or study, but those who wish to remain for longer than 3 months will need to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain which will be valid for 3 years only. After this period elapses, these citizens’ right to stay in the UK will be subject to the new immigration system planned to take effect on 1 January 2021.
The Government has also announced that it is scrapping the £65 fee for eligible EU citizens to apply for settled status.
The last few weeks have seen a flurry of publications providing a slightly clearer picture of the employment and immigration consequences of a Brexit deal or no-deal. In addition to the final text of the draft Withdrawal Agreement setting out the arrangements for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on 29 March 2019 and the draft Political Declaration on the future relationship between the EU and the UK, the European Commission has published a Q&A on citizens’ rights under the Withdrawal Agreement and a proposed Regulation on visa-free travel while the UK Government has published a policy paper on citizens’ rights in a no-deal scenario and its much-delayed Immigration White Paper. So where does all this leave employers? Continue reading
Over the summer the Government published its white paper on the future UK-EU relationship post transitional period, covering a wide range of issues including immigration and employment. On immigration, the Government stated that it recognises the importance of moving and attracting talent across Europe to support the global operations of UK firms and global investors. It suggested that business visits would continue to be permitted to and from the EU under new arrangements but for paid work in only a limited number of circumstances (perhaps in line with the current business visitor rules for non-EEA nationals). The paper also suggested permitting intra-corporate transfers across Europe, based on existing arrangements with other non-EU countries. Finally, the Government made clear that it intends to seek the secure onward movement opportunities for UK nationals in the EU who are covered by the citizens’ rights part of the withdrawal agreement, should they wish to change their member state of residence in the future. There is little further detail on how migration arrangements could work after Brexit but a further white paper on immigration has been promised this autumn. Continue reading
The rights of EU citizens is one of the three issues on which sufficient progress was required before the Brexit negotiations with the EU could move onto Britain’s future relationship. The Joint Report of the negotiators issued in early December confirms that the Government is willing to accept that the specified cut off date for protection for EU citizens already exercising their freedom of movement rights to reside in the UK will be the time of the UK’s withdrawal; previously it has been unwilling to say more than that it would not be earlier than 29 March 2017. This may provide some reassurance for employers reliant on EU staff. See our Brexit blog for further details.
The rights of EU citizens currently in the UK were the subject of considerable focus last week, in light of concerns as to whether the Home Office will be able to handle applications from the estimated three million EU citizens currently here and the position if no Brexit deal is agreed.
New presidential guidance has been issued in relation to how employment tribunals should calculate pensions loss and awards for injury to feelings in discrimination cases, available here. There are three bands for injury to feelings, with a usual minimum of £800 and maximum of £42,000 (save for exceptional cases); these will be reviewed in March 2018 and annually thereafter.
Last week the UK Government released its negotiating position paper on international transfers of personal data within the EEA (The Exchange and Protection of Personal Data). Once the UK leaves the EEA it will no longer be subject to the General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR”) and would no longer form part of the EU “safe data” zone throughout which personal data may be freely transferred. The GDPR will however continue to apply to UK businesses who provide goods or services to individuals in the EEA.
The Queen’s Speech on 21 June 2017 set out the government’s programme for the next two years and was inevitably dominated by Brexit-related legislation. The principal bill will be the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, subsequently published on 13 July 2017, which will repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and bring about Britain’s exit from the European Union. A series of factsheets has been published to accompany the Bill, including one setting out the Government’s previously announced position on protecting workers’ rights (see here). Other measures included: Continue reading
The UK Government has published its proposals for safeguarding the position of EU citizens living in the UK post Brexit (link). Settling the future of citizens exercising their right of free movement and providing legal certainty for EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU is recognised as a key priority for the withdrawal negotiations both by the UK and the EU. Despite these principles being agreed, negotiations on the detailed arrangements can be expected to be complex and the EU negotiator, Michel Barnier, described the UK's proposals as insufficient, claiming that "more ambition, clarity and guarantees will be needed".
The UK is proposing to introduce a new 'settled status' in UK law for EU citizens who have been resident in the UK before a specified date (not yet defined but to be no earlier than 29 March 2017 and no later than the date of the UK's withdrawal). There will be a grace period of blanket permission for all EU citizens to stay in the UK for a fixed period of time following the UK's exit from the EU (expected to be around two years) to allow sufficient time for applications to be made and for the relevant immigration status to be granted.