Posted by: Fabiana Hershfield, Supply Chain Manager
With the UK now set to leave the European Union (EU) by 31 January 2020, what does that mean for UK and EU assignees? To keep up to date on immigration developments, Cartus works closely with our immigration provider Fragomen, who releases regular updates on immigration as it relates to Brexit. Here is an outline of their latest recommendations and information:
As it stands now, if the UK and EU agrees a deal then there will be a transition period, which will run until 31 December 2020. During this time EU nationals will retain free movement rights and have until 30 June 2021 to make an application under the EU Settlement Scheme, to ensure they are able to continue to reside in the UK. Applications can be made online and are relatively straightforward to complete.
A no deal scenario means there will be no transition period. EU nationals living and working in the UK (when Brexit takes place), will only have until the end of December 2020 to make an application under the EU Settlement Scheme. With this in mind, companies should advise impacted assignees that they need to submit an application under the EU Settlement Scheme. These applications should be made sooner rather than later to ensure assignees can continue to work in the UK, as well as rent a home and have access to healthcare.
Companies should also prepare for the impact on business travellers, particularly in a no deal scenario. EU nationals travelling to the UK for business will be able to do so until 31 December 2020, but from 1 January 2021, they must restrict activities to what is permitted under the UK’s business visitor rules.
The situation is more complex for UK nationals working in the EU, because immigration rules are set by each of the 26 member states.
Should the UK and EU agree a deal, then UK nationals will have freedom of movement rights during the transition, but lose them once the transition period ends. Any UK national already living in an EU country, or taking up legal residence in an EU country during the transition period will be protected. This extends to the individual’s family members, even if they join them after the transition period.
Without a deal and a subsequent transition period, all UK nationals not already residing in an EU country will be treated like foreign nationals the day after the UK officially leaves the EU. Each member state will set its own immigration policy for UK assignees.
Once Brexit has taken place, business travellers must restrict activities to what is permitted under the business visitor rules in the destination EU country. All work outside the country of residence will require a work permit.
For more information and the latest Brexit updates relating to immigration, visit fragomen.com/sites/brexit/about.
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. You may also want to look at scheduled assignments that could be impacted, and where possible, bringing UK-bound moves forward. If a deal isn’t reached, changes to immigration requirements for EU nationals residing in the UK would be implemented the moment the UK leaves. To avoid potential disruption and issues, companies should consider re-scheduling impacted assignments so that they begin prior to when Brexit takes place.
Regularly communicate with all parties involved in the mobility process, from assignees and key business areas, to your immigration and relocation services providers. Assignees should be made aware of the possible disruption that Brexit may have on their assignments. Setting expectations early will avoid assignees feeling alienated later on. Sharing your contingency plans with key business areas will also mean everyone in your company remains aligned throughout the process.
We are working closely with our dedicated network of suppliers, like Fragomen, to ensure that we’re prepared for every Brexit scenario, whether that includes a deal or no deal. As the market leader in relocation 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.