Whether the UK exits the EU with or without a deal, UK immigration law is fundamentally changing. It is important for employers to consider how best to ensure continuity in their workforce, writes Philip McNally, Manager, Legal Services, KPMG Ireland.
“At KPMG, we advise employers to initially arrange an immigration audit of their workforce. The aim of this audit is to highlight any deficiencies in an employer’s ‘Right to Work”’ checking process. If an employee does not have a right to work in the UK and a compliant ‘Right to Work’ check has not taken place, an employer may be liable to a fine of up to £20,000 per employee. Any deficiencies identified in the audit can then be rectified.
“The audit should also verify key immigration data including: how many EEA nationals the business employs in the UK, how many of these impacted individuals also have a British or Irish passport, when they arrived in the UK and whether they live in the UK or the Republic of Ireland.
“This information will inform the employer of how many of its employees’ status is secure due to being a British or Irish citizen and which employees - if any - have to make an immigration application to remain in the workforce. Such an application could be under the EU Settlement Scheme - for European Temporary Leave to Remain (the application system which will be enacted in a no-deal scenario), as a Frontier Worker or a visa application under the post Brexit immigration system.
“Once an employer has this information and gauges the risk of losing employees who do not make a successful immigration application, it can decide how best to help its employees retain their rights. In our experience, employers adopt a range of strategies such as providing information or training on how to complete applications, webinars and direct assistance with applications. The audit should also identify how many British employees are working in the EEA. British citizens (who do not also hold another EEA passport, for example an Irish passport) will often require immigration permission to work in an EEA member state (other than the Republic of Ireland). The immigration rules will vary depending on the country that the British citizen intends to work in, and the nature of the work.”