October 21, 2020

Beyond Brexit: What’s Next for UK and EU Immigration?

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Beyond Brexit: What’s Next for UK and EU Immigration?

Although the UK has officially left the European Union (EU), the Brexit transition period is due to end on December 31, 2020. It’s at this point when things will really change in terms of freedom of movement and unrestricted business travel for UK nationals moving to the EU and for Europeans moving to the UK. So what’s going to change and how will it impact your international workforce? Our immigration provider, Fragomen, has the answers!

To keep up to date on immigration developments, Cartus works closely with Fragomen, who releases regular immigration updates relating to Brexit. Here is an outline of their key recommendations:

EU Assignees Living in the UK Before 2021

961 - London Bridge at Sunset1.jpgCitizens of an EU member country who have relocated to the UK before the end of 2020 may continue living and working there after the transition period has ended, but should take the necessary action to protect this position by registering with the EU Settlement Scheme. It is recommended that impacted assignees register now, in case there are delays due to social distancing measures or public office closures for the Christmas holidays.

The scheme was introduced to confirm the residency of EU nationals and family members who have been living in the UK prior to January 1, 2021, when the UK’s involvement in free movement ends. Applications can be made on a smart phone app or a browser, and data is checked against tax and benefits records. Most applications take between 15 and 20 minutes to complete. People with five years’ residence are awarded settled status. People with less than five years are initially granted five years of pre-settled status.

EU Assignees Relocating to the UK from January 1, 2021

  • The new UK immigration system will treat both EU and non-EU nationals equally.
    • For skilled EU workers, the new system will mean slower recruitment, substantial government fees and minimum salary requirements.
    • Non-EU workers will most likely experience a faster and simpler system, with lower salary and skill level requirements.
  • UK nationals will require permission to work in the EU, except in Ireland. Process times are expected to be between one and six months, sometimes longer in specific circumstances.
  • There will most likely be three points-based systems:
    • A Skilled Worker visa for people with a job offer, based on the Tier 2 (General) visa category. A going rate will be set for every job in the labor market and employers will need to pay at least that amount to a relocating employee, or the minimum salary for points, whichever is higher. The rate will be lower for people under the age of 26 years and for graduates.
    • An Intra-Company Transfer visa for assignees, based on the Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa. This category offers a maximum stay of five years and no route to settlement, however, visa holders may have the choice to switch to a Skilled Worker visa to potentially stay in the country permanently.
    • The UK government is also exploring a Highly Skilled Work visa for those without a job offer, although the category will not take effect on January 1, 2021. 
  • There will not be an immigration category for low skilled workers.

UK Assignees Living in the EU Before 2021

  • UK assignees already living in an EU country or relocating before 2021, will maintain their residence and work, subject to a registration process specific to UK nationals. Under the terms of the Brexit deal, each EU country can choose to honor existing registrations or ask UK nationals to take some additional steps, so UK assignees (and their employers) should be familiar with the rules in the country where they currently live. It is recommended that impacted assignees register as early as possible as there maybe delays due to social distancing and public office closures for the Christmas holidays.
  • UK nationals regularly working in an EU country other than the one where they live—or living in the UK and regularly working in the EU—should make sure that they protect these rights, as this type of cross-border work will not be open to other UK nationals once the transition period has closed at the end of the year.

UK Assignees Relocating to the EU from January 1, 2021

  • Once the transition phase ends, immigration rules will vary widely across the EU.
  • UK nationals, like all other non-EU nationals, will have immigration limitations:
    • Business visitors will be limited to a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period and their activities will have to be checked against all national legislations to verify whether or not they are work permit exempt.
    • Assignees and local hires will have to obtain work permits, which take between one and six months to obtain.
    • Cross-border workers will be impacted, as the immigration provisions allowing this for non-EU nationals are very limited.

Ireland Relocation

UK citizens in Ireland and Irish citizens in the UK remain unaffected. They both enjoy rights of residence and work in each country, regardless of whether they arrive before or after the transition phase.

For more information on Brexit and immigration services, please visit https://www.fragomen.com/sites/brexit/about.

© 2020 Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, Fragomen Global LLP and affiliates. All Rights Reserved. This alert is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or give rise to an attorney-client relationship between you and Fragomen Worldwide. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen Worldwide.

Cartus Recommendations for Relocation Managers

UK-Customs-Process-thumb-820px-042717.pngFrom next year, the new UK immigration system may be slower and more expensive than free movement, but it may also feel easier for those organizations hiring non-Europeans. We encourage companies to communicate the system changes to key stakeholders, including leadership and impacted assignees, as early as possible. As part of the communication plan, you should also seek regular updates from all external parties involved in the mobility process, including relocation and immigration service providers.

If you haven’t already, be sure to conduct a full review of your assignee population, specifically how many UK and EU nationals are currently on assignment and the locations in which they are living and working. In addition, review scheduled assignments that may be impacted.

Relocating Your Business

If your business is considering relocating out of the UK, then it’s important to understand the unique set of challenges that each host location may present e.g. rental market conditions, immigration laws, schooling options, shipping times, and bureaucratic hurdles. Challenges like these can increase the cost of relocation or increase the timeframe necessary to implement moves. Parallel operating costs also need to be considered, where critical business operations need to function in both old and new locations. Get in touch with your relocation services provider today.

Working to Support You

We are working closely with our dedicated network of suppliers, like Fragomen, to ensure that we’re prepared for the impact Brexit may have on relocations. As the market leader in global mobility services, Cartus will continue to monitor Brexit as it evolves. In the meantime, if you have any questions or want to find out more, please do not hesitate to contact your Cartus representative or email cartussolutions@cartus.com.

Picture of Fabiana  Hershfield

Posted By

Fabiana Hershfield

About Fabiana

Fabiana has 20 years of experience in international assignment services, immigration case processing, and global supply chain management. She has also worked for multinational immigration law firms, serving them as Global Case Manager for a vast corporate client portfolio.

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