Brexit Update from Goodwille – April 2019

It’s been a while since our last update on the Brexit discussion so we felt it was time for another one, even if we are still waiting for a final decision as to how and when Brexit will happen.

What has happened since our last update?

Very little that has brought any clarity. Our belief that a delay was more likely than a No-Deal was confirmed when the EU accepted Theresa May’s letter to extend Article 50.

What happened on Friday?

Theresa May’s latest attempt to get her deal through failed, albeit by a smaller margin (58 votes).

What is going on at the moment in the UK Parliament?

Contrary to normal procedure, there are two parallel processes going on in Parliament at the moment. Theresa May and the Government are trying to get her Withdrawal Agreement through and the rest of parliament are trying to find a majority for anything. They failed at the first attempt, with another referendum coming closest even though it was heavily defeated back on 14th March. Most likely because a large number of MP’s supporting the Government is abstaining from the current parliamentary process. In a bizarre twist even if parliament found a majority for something, Theresa May could ignore it.

What are the EU doing?

The sentiment seems to be one of growing frustration amongst EU27. Albeit Leo Varadkar (Irish PM) and Michel Barnier (EU Lead negotiator) have added to the confusion stating that in the event of No-Deal that there would not be a need for Border checks between Northern Ireland and Ireland. This appears to contradict the most contentious aspect of the Withdrawal Agreement.

What appear to be the options now?

In essence, a No-Deal Brexit on the 12th April or, more likely (in our opinion) a long extension under conditions to be defined by the EU. Though there are still some lingering hopes by the Government that they might be able to get the Withdrawal agreement considering the narrowing margin of votes. Either way, Tusk has called a meeting of the European Council for the 10th April.

What has Goodwille been doing in the meantime?

Goodwille has:

  • Been developing our contacts and network within the customs industry so that we are well positioned in the event of a No-Deal exit
  • Look further into the impacts of Data Protection in the event of a No-Deal exit
  • Working with many of our clients to help prepare them and their staff for a possible Brexit
  • Getting thoroughly frustrated with the uncertainty and hoping that someone makes a decision one way or the other soon

We will continue to monitor the progress of the Brexit discussions, and will regularly send out updates via email and update our website with any recent news. Subscribe to our Brexit Newsletter to receive our updates directly to your inbox, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions on how Brexit will impact your business.


This update is for general guidance only. Specific legal advice should be obtained in all cases. This material is the copyright of Goodwille Limited (unless otherwise stipulated) and is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written consent.

Brexit Update from Goodwille – March 2019

With goalposts constantly moving and timings changing, we want to give you an update on the latest of the Brexit negotiations.

What are the new dates we have to contend with?

The new Brexit date is set to be 12th April 2019, assuming MV3 (third meaningful vote, i.e. parliamentary vote on Brexit) does not get passed, however there are uncertainties whether this needs to happen this week. Otherwise it will be the 22nd May 2019. There is also a possibility of a longer extension to prevent a No-Deal scenario, but this will need to come with a clear direction from the majority of Parliament.

What are the indicative votes happening today and what power do they have?

There are 7 options, which still need to be defined (soon to be announced), including everything from ‘Remain’, ‘Revoke Article 50’, ‘Another Referendum’, ’Various forms of customs union and single market access’, a ‘Free Trade Agreement’ to a ‘No-Deal’. It is worth noting that these can all be ignored by the Prime Minister, although it might lead the Parliament to take more powers back from the Government.

Is a No-Deal likely?

At Goodwille, we see the risk of a No-Deal increasingly plausible, but still not very likely to happen. This is based on the fact that the Parliament does not want a No-Deal (as voted by a majority to express no desire to exit in this manner) and neither does the EU (particularly Ireland).

Will there be a hard border in Ireland?

This remains more unclear than ever and is heavily politicised due to the history of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Both Leo Varadkar (Irish PM) and Michel Barnier (EU Lead Negotiator) have recently come out stating that in the event of a No-Deal, there will be no hard border and checks will be taken away from the border. Though by Barnier’s own admission, there will need to be checks on animals crossing the border. As it stands, the question of hard border and checks remains unresolved.

Do business have more certainty?

At present, we do not feel there is certainty given the question of how the UK might be leaving the EU and the date keeps getting extended.  There is also a possibility of UK not leaving EU (No Brexit) and specific details are yet to be defined by both UK and EU governments.

Which type of businesses might be most impacted by a No-Deal?

Going by communication from UK authorities, we foresee issues more significantly for those importing/exporting goods to/from the EU (mainly by freight) and also industries that are heavily regulated, such as finance or biological/medical etc. Air cargo will not be as heavily impacted due to investment in technology to improve processing of paperwork.

What can businesses do?

As frustrating as it is, assuming you have taken action on the recommended items highlighted in the previous newsletter updates, we have to wait until the Parliament has taken a final decision.

We will continue to monitor the progress of the Brexit discussions, and will regularly send out updates via email and update our website as and when we feel there is a meaningful development. Subscribe to our Brexit Newsletter to receive our updates directly to your inbox, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions on how Brexit will impact your business.


This update is for general guidance only. Specific legal advice should be obtained in all cases. This material is the copyright of Goodwille Limited (unless otherwise stipulated) and is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written consent.

Brexit Update from Goodwille – January 2019

The last few weeks have been eventful and no doubt by the time we have completed writing this update something else will have happened. Either way, we thought this was a good time to provide an update after all the events last week and highlight any actions that you can do right now, while Parliament works out what kind of deal can get passed through.

What happened in the hast 10 days

  • May’s Withdrawal Agreement defeated emphatically, with the Irish Backstop being the main culprit
  • May survived a no-confidence motion to remain PM
  • A faction of Parliament moving to block a No-Deal in March
  • May’s Plan B was very much a repeat of her Plan A
  • May announced that EU nationals will not have to pay for the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) / will not have to pay to obtain “Settled” or “Pre-Settled Status”
  • The Government is now working to see what can get through parliament

What some import/export businesses have been doing preparing for possibility of No-Deal

  1. Stockpiling 6 months’ worth of goods
  2. Acting on HMRC Guidance, by applying for a UK EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) number. Please get in touch with us if you would like help with this.
  3. Contacting the organisation that moves your goods to ensure they have all the information they need for your products.

We are also looking into the best way to ensure import/export declarations will be done for you in the event of No-Deal Brexit.

What steps have we taken for Goodwille EU National staff

With many of our staff being EU nationals, we want to do our utmost to support them and inform them on their rights and status in the UK post-Brexit. Following our guidance we have:

  • Conducted a review of staff whose status will be affected post-Brexit.
  • Worked with immigration expert partners to keep staff updated on Brexit and relevant changes.
  • Made a commitment to support them through the process.

As we know that many of our clients employ EU Nationals, we have created a diagram which shows the different options available for securing their status in the UK post-Brexit. Access our diagram here to read more about the EUSS and EU residence rights in the UK after Brexit.

What we have been reading

All corners of Parliament are now working to see what kind of deal could be agreed on, including promoting their own deals contrary to parliamentary precedence of only the Government presenting legislation. Patience is wearing thin on both sides of the English Channel, and Theresa May’s Government still unwilling to budge on it’s “red lines”, coupled with a large faction of MP’s seeking to avoid a No-Deal Brexit. There is a lot still to be achieved in the next 65 days and still not much detail on what a No-Deal looks like for UK businesses. We shall continue to keep you updated on key events.

We will continue to monitor the progress of the Brexit discussions, and will regularly send out updates via email and update our website with any recent news. Subscribe to our Brexit Newsletter to receive our updates directly to your inbox, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions on how Brexit will impact your business.


This update is for general guidance only. Specific legal advice should be obtained in all cases. This material is the copyright of Goodwille Limited (unless otherwise stipulated) and is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written consent.

Brexit Update from Goodwille – December 2018

A lot has happened in the month since our last update! In the short space of time we have seen:

  • A Withdrawal Agreement has been agreed between the UK and EU’s negotiating teams.
  • UK Prime Minister Theresa May has survived a leadership challenge within her Conservative party, not to mention the possibility of a no confidence motion.
  • The UK Government confirmed that it will be going ahead with its EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), which set out the process EU nationals will need to follow in order to remain in the UK after Brexit.
  • The UK also announced its controversial immigration White Paper outlining the rules-based system for EU immigration after Brexit.
  • Most recently, both the EU and UK Government have been ramping up No-Deal planning and publishing related guidance.

With less than 100 days to go, concern and frustration is growing – particularly since the default outcome on the 29th March is a No-Deal departure.

The message from Goodwille remains the same: to not read too much into media hysteria and instead watch the positions of the EU and UK Government closely. Neither side shows any desire to leave on No-Deal terms. Since our last email; however, we do feel the risk of No-Deal Brexit has increased – though we await further details from both sides as to what a No-Deal entails. We expect more detail to be drip-fed over the coming months.

Next Key Date: Between 7th and around 17th January 2019: House of Commons approves the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration.

Next Update from Goodwille: Depending on the events over Christmas, we will be looking to send something out early to mid-January.

Brexit and EU migration: Is your status settled?

Whether there be a Deal or No-Deal scenario, on 29th March 2019 current EU rights of residence will fall away with the UK leaving the EU.  The UK Government published a ‘Statement of Intent’ in June 2018, whose focal point was not only to detail Britain’s attitude towards immigration in a post-Brexit era, but also to introduce the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).

The EUSS is designed for both EU citizens and their family members to obtain either pre-settled or settled status which will ‘replace’ the automatic rights they currently enjoy with the UK being an EU member state.

Upon Brexit, gaining formal settlement status via the EUSS is critical for all EU citizens currently residing in the UK. As stated by the Government, it will allow them continued and unhindered access to work, study and the right to receive benefits, healthcare, pensions, public services and countless other rights currently enjoyed by EU nationals living in the UK.

Therefore, Goodwille together with North Star Law, experts in immigration law, have answered 3 key questions, which are relevant to individuals, family members and employers. Follow the link to get started.

No-Deal planning updates

The HMRC has already published a number of technical guidance notes on various areas of No-Deal preparation, and these can be found here. On Wednesday 19th December 2018, the EU published a memo outlining their No-Deal preparations.

  • In reference to air transportation, the EU states that only basic connectivity would be guaranteed and that UK-registered airlines will be allowed to operate point-to-point flights from the UK to EU airports, but only until 31st December 2020. However, British citizens transiting via EU airports would not have to undergo additional security checks in EU airports and the UK’s aviation security scheme will be recognised as equivalent for a limited period.
  • Further to this, all relevant EU legislation on imported and exported goods will apply as of the withdrawal date, and all remaining member states are asked to take all necessary steps to be able to apply the Union Customs Code and any relevant rules on indirect taxation to all imports from and exports to the UK.
  • UK registered passenger cars will continue to be allowed to drive to the EU and vice-versa, under the assumption that the vehicles as well as the drivers comply with the relevant regulations set up in the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road traffic.

Alex Barker, from the Financial Times, noted that the EU does not address the Northern Ireland border, the EU budget and, to some extent, fish in the event of a No-Deal scenario.

See the EU’s published preparations for a No-Deal Brexit.

White Paper on post-Brexit immigration

The UK Government’s White Paper on post-Brexit Immigration was published on Wednesday.  This outlines the Government’s plan to introduce a single immigration system and aims to end free movement.  Effectively, the Government will introduce a new, skills-based immigration system where the workers’ skills are valued above their country of origin. Further to this, the system aims to continue to attract the best and brightest workers without overlooking British citizens. However, the proposed minimum income threshold of £30,000 has been met with criticism. Read the full white paper here.

What we are reading

Technical

Blog Articles

We will continue to monitor the progress of the Brexit discussions, and will regularly send out updates via email and update our website with any recent news. Subscribe to our Brexit Newsletter to receive our updates directly to your inbox, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions on how Brexit will impact your business.


This update is for general guidance only. Specific legal advice should be obtained in all cases. This material is the copyright of Goodwille Limited (unless otherwise stipulated) and is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written consent.

Brexit Update from Goodwille – November 2018

As the March 2019 deadline approaches, there is definitely an air of uncertainty surrounding the whole Brexit process. What shape will it take? Will it even happen? Not to mention that the process of leaving has never been executed by an economy as large and as heavily integrated into the EU before. The irony that the leaving process was written by a Brit has not been lost in the UK! Beyond the media hysteria and emotions running high on both sides, the complexity of leaving the EU cannot be dismissed. In the next few paragraphs, we will cover what we at Goodwille have been doing behind the scenes, why we believe now is an important time to update clients and what you can expect from Goodwille in the coming months.

What have we been doing?

Since the result of the referendum back in 2016, we have been acutely aware of the possible disruption Brexit would have for our clients. As such, we have been monitoring the progress very closely for any clues, convening a Brexit committee regularly to discuss updates on how this might affect not only our clients’ businesses, but also their staff, who most likely have an EU contingent. On top of this, being a much more difficult task, we have been trying to weigh up the risks of leaving abruptly in March 2019 versus allocating resources to cater for a number of different worst-case scenarios. Key to this has been our insistence on maintaining a cool head, evading media sensationalism and observing the scene from the position of both parties. This has been made possible by our multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural team.

Why now?

At the time of writing, there is still very little clarity on what form Brexit might take (options as we see them are listed below). However, the possibility of a No-Deal looms ever larger on the horizon and the team at Goodwille believes in the next coming weeks, action will need to be taken as the risk becomes acutely greater.

Between the Special EU Summit on the 17th/18th November, where Theresa May will be hoping to return with a deal, and the Government stating that it will need to formally start executing their No-Deal strategy in the middle of November, we believe that we are at a critical point in the negotiations. Subsequently, Goodwille will advise our clients to start planning and executing contingencies for a No-Deal exit.

What can you expect from Goodwille

Firstly, you can expect another update from Goodwille after the Special EU Summit to let you know how the negotiations have developed, but also more detail on how to plan for the months ahead.

Secondly, as we have been considering and following developments concerning the human factor with utmost interest, we will be providing guidance for employers and employees, in conjunction with our immigration experts, on how to ensure EU nationals and their families can remain in the UK after Brexit.

Thirdly, should a No-Deal outcome become more likely, we will be supporting any clients that require our help to get their businesses ready for this contingency. This will be achieved by leveraging our network of experts and recognising that a lot of our clients are in the same position. This allows Goodwille to provide cost effective solutions and pooled resources, from which we can offer more unique solutions catering to individual clients.

Finally, Goodwille will be providing regular updates as we approach March 2019.

 

We have also listed a few other points that might be of interest below:

What are the Brexit options facing the UK/EU*?

Politically, it is deemed impossible by the ruling party in the UK not to implement Brexit, and therefore questions have arisen which ask what kind of Brexit will occur. An answer would fall broadly into below two categories:

  1. A Withdrawal Agreement with a commitment to a Customs Union or Free Trade Agreement, or
  2. A No-Deal Scenario on EEA/EFTA or WTO terms.

One could argue that there are several third options here; a delay, particularly in a No-Deal scenario, but politically this is mired with complexity and lack of clarity in how this could be achieved. However, this is countered by the fact that neither side wants/needs/can afford a No-Deal fall out of the European Union by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

*It is important to note that this is a simplified overview of the possible outcomes to clarify the perceived best-case and worst-case scenarios.

What can clients do in the meantime?

We imagine a lot of you will have given this a lot of thought and some of the larger clients will no doubt have already executed some contingencies. At this point, we believe clients need to sit tight and await the middle of November. Should clients have the spare resources or the urge to act, then we suggest doing a risk assessment on key parts of your business that might be affected by a No-Deal scenario. This will then form the basis of where to focus efforts, should the worst come to happen. The UK Government has also released guidance online to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no deal; Gov UK Link here and a useful diagram from the Institute for Government can be found here.

We will continue to monitor the progress of the Brexit discussions, and will regularly send out updates via email and update our website with any recent news. Subscribe to our Brexit Newsletter to receive our updates directly to your inbox, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions on how Brexit will impact your business.


This update is for general guidance only. Specific legal advice should be obtained in all cases. This material is the copyright of Goodwille Limited (unless otherwise stipulated) and is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written consent.

Can London tech businesses boost economic growth in a post-Brexit UK?

Brexit continues to occupy much of the space in the British and international media, with debate ongoing as to what the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will mean for business.

Recent government impact studies have shown that as much as 8% could be chipped off Britain’s GDP if the UK leaves the EU with no deal in place. Five percent of GDP will apparently go missing if they conclude a free trade agreement with the EU, according to the leaked reports published by BuzzFeed.

Even if Britain stays in the European Economic Area after leaving the EU, the damage will still be around 2% of GDP, according to the leaked impact assessments. Those figures suggest that some serious innovation will be required by businesses to keep the British economy on track and moving in a positive direction.

So what can be done? Well, tech startups in London could be a big part of the answer. If anyone is wanting to set up a UK company of this type, London is a good city to choose. There are a number of reasons for this.

Tellingly, London has a youthful, dynamic and diverse population, that is also very large. A massive chunk of the city’s population is classed as being millennials, a demographic which is naturally drawn to technology companies.

An indicator of the opportunities available to companies who set up in this part of the UK is that in 2015, London-based start-ups created 20,000 new jobs. They also managed to raise £1.3 billion. Now, in 2017, there is also a massive availability of investment platforms and accelerators, which can help a new business in London grow. These include TechStars, Crowdcube and Shell Livewire.

If you are looking to set up a new company in the UK, or diversify some of your operations by expanding your current business from overseas into the UK, then London is a good place to look. This is especially true for tech companies. There is a ready supply of workers and customers in one of the world’s most international cities. Brexit may well be on its way, and casting a shadow over the UK economy, but the opportunities to thrive in a city like London are still there to be grasped.

With years of experience helping foreign tech startups establish in the UK, Goodwille can help you with everything you need to succeed on the UK market.
Get in touch with us today if you need any advice or help with your company expansion.


Are you worried about what impact Brexit might have on your future possibilities to do business? We have consolidated everything you need to know about Brexit on our Brexit Tracker. The Tracker is updated as discussions go along, so it’s always up to date with the most recent progress of the Brexit negotiations. You find the Brexit Tracker on goodwille.com/brexit.

Freedom of Establishment – Corporate Mobility

Often labelled as “passporting”, Corporate Mobility means that once a company is established in one EU member state, others will need to recognise it as validly established legal entity. As a result, an established company can sell goods or services to other EU countries, in principle without needing to establish a branch or subsidiary there.  In some instances, member states’ tax rules will still require establishment of a local entity. An example here is the UK legal obligation to form a “UK establishment” (subsidiary or branch) when certain criteria are met. Several questions come to mind in relation to the future of this freedom…

Will you need to establish an entity in the UK to run operations smoothly?
If you have a UK Branch, should you form a subsidiary to strengthen your UK base?

Answers to these questions will vary depending on where your company is based, as well as what Brexit scenario the future holds – will there be a “hard Brexit” or not, how long is the transition period, will Mrs May negotiate a solution for corporate mobility?

To illustrate the background: Most continental EU jurisdictions (e.g. France, Germany) adopt the “Real Seat Theory”. This means the company will follow the company law where it has its real seat, being the location of the company’s centre of management or central administration. The second theory, called “Legal Seat Doctrine” (adopted, for example, in England), the applicable company law is determined by the jurisdiction where the company is incorporated.

This means that a UK established company, whether or not it is a foreign subsidiary or not, will retain its legal status in the UK irrespective of the Brexit model applied. Depending on business carried out in other EU member states, your UK established company may need to explore whether you should set up an entity in another EU country if you do not currently have such an entity. This will be particularly relevant for companies registered in one of the UK jurisdictions but having their central administration in a “Real Seat Country”.  Those types of businesses may risk to be regarded as unincorporated associations following Brexit, thus potentially losing their status as legal entity in those other member states.

On the flip side, if you are currently operating an entity outside the UK and are carrying out regular business with the UK, you may not have the benefit of being regarded as legal entity in the UK. Depending on your exposure to the UK market and business plans, you may wish to consider setting up a UK Limited company to strengthen your base. Whilst it is not possible to advice on what precisely will happen, we have seen this used as a contingency approach during less certain times.

Watch this space for a detailed analysis on any indications we have seen so far on how the UK is looking to fare with your Corporate Mobility!

 

 

If you have any questions about Corporate Mobility,
get in touch with Tessa Schrempf,
Corporate Legal Controller at Goodwille.
tessa.schrempf@goodwille.com

 


This update is for general guidance only. Specific legal advice should be obtained in all cases. This material is the copyright of Goodwille Limited (unless otherwise stipulated) and is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written consent.

Free Movement of Goods

The free movement of goods is one of the cornerstones of EU law and business. It essentially is a two-sided coin, and provides for tariff‑free access to the single market and the elimination of non‑tariff barriers such as product regulation and approvals.

The issue concerning the status of UK rules vis-à-vis laws pertaining to the movement of goods and services, as well as changes to the VAT system, increasingly captivates our interest day by day. As the UK hopes to achieve a bespoke agreement, the British government will seek to maintain the closest relationship with the EU and, as UK Prime Minister Theresa May was heard saying during her Florence speech, a frictionless trade agreement between the bloc and the UK. The Draft Withdrawal Agreement published on 19th March 2018 supports this approach. One of the clauses both parties have agreed on stipulates that any good that was lawfully placed on the EU or UK market before 31st December 2020 should be able to continue to circulate freely until reaching the end-user. The existing rules on free movement of goods will largely remain in force during the Transition Period, with some applicable exceptions.

These developments are at least an interim departure from Mrs May’s ruling out of remaining in the single market or customs union. It remains to be seen how the post-Transition Period deals with the matter of freedom of goods, but future developments do not necessarily threaten frictionless EU-UK trade. UK industries and their respective sectors are highly integrated with the single market; the Office of National Statistics (ONS) state that over 59% of UK imports are of EU origin, whilst 48% of UK exports end up within the community.

It would not be in Britain’s interest to lose free-trade access to the EU, as the UK would lose access to countries with which the EU and European Economic Area (EEA) have also been negotiating free trade agreements. Moreover, a weakened Pound Sterling at the outset of the June 2016 Referendum, has seen demand for UK-built goods abroad increase, as exports became cheaper, and tourism saw improvement, where visiting the UK became more affordable. There is scope to protect frictionless trade in goods and services and to secure proper VAT processes following Brexit.

VAT and the flow of goods and services are symbiotic, and they will adhere too much of PM May’s rhetoric concerning the maintenance of seamless trade with the EU – predictability. Voices that declare that Brexit means “taking back control” are purported, as past decisions made by the European Court of Justice will be influential in the continued interpretation of VAT law in British law. The EU VAT Directive have been soaked up by British courts, and this is another signal that the path Britain is taking concerning goods, services and VAT will be governed by the virtues our company seeks to aspire to: predictability and reliability.

Additionally, issues concerning the future of services or goods do not seem to be so challenging at this stage, many self-accounting rules for VAT on services bought from the EU will remain broadly unchanged and there could be further opportunities; especially if one considers that EC Sales List declarations may not need to be completed. This suggests an orderly process of transposition and transition in a post-EU UK as being the name of the game.

In areas concerning the exchange and freedom of movement concerning technologies, the UK seeks to maintain its position as a leading provider and market for hi-tech industries. Upon reading the UK’s Industrial Strategy Paper in November, the UK seeks to increase innovation by raising total research and development investment to 2.4% of GDP by 2027. Over £1 Billion will be invested to boost Britain’s digital infrastructure, £176million for 5G and £200million invested to foster full-fibre networks in the UK. Equally important is the UK’s drive to invest £20 billion into innovative and high potential businesses.

 

 

If you have any questions about Free Movement of Goods,
get in touch with Alexander Goodwille,
CEO at Goodwille. 

alexander.goodwille@goodwille.com

 


This update is for general guidance only. Specific legal advice should be obtained in all cases. This material is the copyright of Goodwille Limited (unless otherwise stipulated) and is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written consent.

Free Movement of People – Individual Mobility

By law, this freedom is called “Freedom of Workers”. We have expanded the notion here as in practice, it relates to more than just EU workers and includes for example family members and jobseekers, but also students and unemployed Union citizens. We have picked out the three most relevant categories here below.

Brexit for Employees

There has been a lot of speculation over the past 2 years around Brexit which has perhaps meant that many non-British citizens are questioning the security of their current situation in the UK. The key information is that there will be no change to the legal rights of EU nationals living in the UK until at least 31st December 2020, or later if there is an extension.

In December 2017, the UK Government announced that an agreement had been reached with the European Commission on citizens’ rights, whereby EU citizens who arrive in the UK by 29 March 2019 will be entitled to apply for “settled status” (see below) when they have five years’ continuous residence in the UK. However, the Draft Withdrawal Agreement published on 19th March 2019 confirmed that free movement of people will be extended to the start of 2021. This recent assurance means that EU Nationals arriving in the UK would be able to stay in the UK indefinitely and also access work permits via the new immigration regime.

Did you know…

  • Currently, citizens of EEA countries and Switzerland plus any non EEA family members can live and work in the UK and do not need any specific permission to do so at present, however in the interests of security and perhaps reassurance, it could be beneficial to formally request documentation.
  • There are pro’s and cons regarding applying for Permanent Residency at this time and also criteria as to whether an individual has this option open to them, i.e. one stipulation is that an individual must have been a continuous resident in the UK for 5 years or more.
  • Currently anyone who is an EU citizen living and working in the UK does not have to make an application to preserve their rights at this time; and indeed the Home Office are encouraging EU citizens to not make applications just now as they are inundated with applications.
  • There will however be the need to demonstrate via documentation in the future that an individual has the right to live and work in the UK. This could be via Permanent Residency, British Citizenship or Visa, but the longer term plan would be that individuals who do not hold visa status will apply for Settled Worker status (which will be discussed later in the newsletter). Those currently holding Permanent Residency will also need to apply for Settled Worker status.
  • Key areas which individuals may want to consider are whether they wish to be British (British Citizenship or Settled Worker), whether they would like the right to vote in the UK, whether holding dual citizenship is a possibility, whether they have EU family members who they would like to bring with them to live in the UK (as the British Immigration rules may be more restrictive than those currently enforced under the EU) and their taxation status.

Brexit for Employers

As discussed above, immediate uncertainties over the immigration status post-Brexit were addressed in the Draft Withdrawal Agreement confirming EU citizens’ rights to remain unchanged until 31st December 2020. As previously, this means for the moment there is no issue for EU nationals to live and work in the UK. Irrespective of the recent assurances, employers need to think about future proofing their business, which of course means looking at how the company can support both current non British employees and also potential hires from outside the UK.

Some thoughts to bear in mind:

  • Consider the workforce and how many non-British employees are in the business or British employees who may have non-British spouses.
  • What can your business afford by way of assistance? Consider presentations explaining the current status re immigration and Brexit and also presentations to assist with applications. Perhaps you can afford to pay for some legal support for employees who may be affected?
  • When you are hiring non-British employees, consider that they may wish to have some reassurance from you that post Brexit, should they not be in a position to stay and work in the UK that they will have some support, this could be by way of a clause in a contract, legal assistance, relocation package etc.
  • There is an expectation that there will still be a high requirement for EU talent in the UK post Brexit. There is a continuing skills shortage in the UK particularly within Tech.
  • There may be a greater need for UK Companies to apply for sponsorship licences to perhaps cover both EU talent and also of course talent from outside of the EU (as is current practice).
  • There are an expanded list of sponsorship licence categories and Companies need to decide which (if any) are more appropriate for them if needed.
  • There is an expectation that there will be greater restrictions on low skilled workers looking to work in the UK with visa’s capped at 2 years. This cap is also to extend to high skill workers with some visa categorisations, where they will be able to stay for 5 years without settlement status.
  • Companies should think about ensuring they are tightening up their compliance checks, including Right to Work checks (which are the minimum which an employer has a responsibility to carry out currently). Compliance is extremely important for sponsorship licences and failure to comply could mean loss of licences and the personnel sponsored by the Company.

Settled Worker Status

In December 2017, the Government announced that it had reached an agreement with the European Commission on citizens’ rights, under which EU citizens arriving in the UK by 29 March 2019 will be entitled to apply for “settled status” when they have five years’ continuous residence in the UK. This will give them the right to stay indefinitely. Settled Status is currently known as Permanent Residence, however those currently living and working in the UK under a Permanent Residence agreement will need to also apply for Settled Status.

Applicants who are not able to give evidence of five years’ continuous residence necessary to obtain settled status, but who can evidence that they were resident before the specified date, will be given temporary status. This means that they will be given the opportunity to build up the required longevity of residency to be able to apply for Settled Status.


If you have any questions about Individual Mobility,
get in touch with Jacqui Brown,
HR Manager at Goodwille. 

jacqui.brown@goodwille.com

This update is for general guidance only. Specific legal advice should be obtained in all cases. This material is the copyright of Goodwille Limited (unless otherwise stipulated) and is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written consent.

The Key Aspects of the Draft Withdrawal Agreement

The key aspects of the Draft Withdrawal Agreement announced in Brussels on 19th March are:

  • The Transition Period will last from Brexit Day on 29th March 2019 until 31st December 2020
  • UK citizens arriving in the EU, and EU citizens arriving in the UK during the Transition Period will enjoy the same rights and guarantees as those who arrive before Brexit Day.
  • The UK will remain party to existing EU trade deals with third countries, but will simultaneously be able to negotiate, sign and ratify its own trade deals during the Transition Period
  • The UK will remain part of the Common Fisheries Policy during the Transition Period, yet without a direct say in its rules. The UK’s share of fishing catch will be guaranteed until the end of 2020. Through 2020, the UK will be negotiating fishing opportunities as an independent coastal state.
  • The issue of Northern Ireland remains a key point of negotiations. In all likelihood, NI will effectively stay in parts of the single market and the customs union in order to avoid a ‘hard border’ with the Republic of Ireland.

This update is for general guidance only. Specific legal advice should be obtained in all cases. This material is the copyright of Goodwille Limited (unless otherwise stipulated) and is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written consent.