Against the backdrop of rising commentary about the implications of a no-deal Brexit on employers, the Home Office has confirmed that employers will not have to conduct right to work checks immediately after Brexit. In addition, it has reassured employers that they will not have to differentiate between resident EU citizens and those that arrive after exit March 2019. The Home Office’s indication to the CIPD is that free movement will effectively continue during the transitional period between March 2019 and December 2020; as currently set out in the draft agreement between the EU and the UK.

The latest developments closely follow the Prime Minister’s recent assurance that the rights of EU citizens will be protected in the event of a no-deal scenario. This means that the EU Settlement Scheme, which requires all EU citizens living in the UK to obtain a settled status document that would give them the same rights as they currently enjoy under free movement, will also continue. The registration process, to begin in January 2019, will last for a period of around two and a half years, so there is no urgency for employers and EU citizens. For those that aren’t doing so already, employers should be reassuring EU citizens that their status is protected and seeking ways of supporting them with the registration process.

Looking ahead, the Home Office is due to set out more information on what a no-deal scenario will mean for employers soon and publish a White Paper on the future immigration system later this year.

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