Brexit: Revised transition terms could extend freedom of movement

Revised guidelines on the UK’s exit from the EU suggest that the EU will toughen up its transition terms – and extend freedom of movement for a longer period.

The Government had previously wanted to limit freedom of movement to individuals who moved to the UK before 29 March 2017, when Article 50 was triggered.

Then in December 2017, it announced that it had reached an agreement with the European Commission on citizens’ rights, under which EU citizens who arrive 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.

The draft guidelines, according to the FT, stipulate that “in particular, the provisions of the citizens’ rights part of the withdrawal agreement should apply as from the end of the transition period”.

Since citizens’ rights cover individuals’ right to work in the UK, this would effectively mean that people arriving in the UK after Brexit but before 2021 would be eligible to stay in the UK indefinitely, and would be able to access work permits under the new immigration regime.

When we look at this from a HR and Recruitment perspective, the issue of Brexit is frustrating.  We all know that it is going to happen, but without a clear understanding of what the final deal will look like, it is very difficult for employers to put into place the required strategies to ensure that they don’t end up with skill gaps and ultimately becoming uncompetitive.

Theresa May had hoped that the terms of transition would be settled by March 2018, however this timeline is yet to be confirmed.  This needs to be sorted soon as it is unfair on those EU workers looking to plan their futures as well as those organisations in sectors such as Retail, Hospitality etc, who are going to have to have a serious look at their HR and Resourcing strategies.

Let’s hope that by the end of March 2018 we have a much better idea as to how all of this is going to look!

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“Paul Withers is an experienced HR Recruiter with extensive exposure gained across a diverse range of industry sectors. Equally happy working at entry through to director level, he is well placed to advise on any recruitment or job search challenges that you may be currently facing.

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