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EU-UK business mobility and recognition of qualifications

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Context

The UK government has issued guidance on business travel in the UK for EE/EEA/Swiss citizens after the UK leaves the EU and for recognition of professional qualifications. The EU Commission has also published proposals for UK business travellers in the EU and for recognition of professional qualifications.


EU Business Travel to the UK

During the period between Brexit date and 1 January 2021, EU/EEA/Swiss citizens will be able to enter the UK for up to 3 months at a time, to work, visit or study, without requiring a visa. People who wish to remain longer than 3 months will be able to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain, to extend their stay in the UK up to 36 months. A fee will apply.

UK Business Travel to the EU

The European Commission has proposed granting UK citizens visa-free travel in the EU/EEA & Switzerland for business meetings, training, sports/cultural events and short-term study for up to 90 days in any 180 day period. People who need to exceed this limit, may require a visa or permit from the individual Member State. There will be other changes for business travellers to consider including, for example, the use of passports, carrying currency and driving.

Recognition of professional qualifications

From Exit Day, the current system of reciprocal recognition of professional qualifications will no longer apply. EEA professional service providers will need to apply to the relevant UK regulator and will be treated in the same way as third countries’ service providers.

UK nationals seeking recognition to provide services in regulated professions in the EEA will need to check the host state’s policies. The European Commission has published guidance on professional qualifications. Where UK nationals have already been recognised by an EU country as holding valid professional qualifications this will remain valid after the UK leaves the EU. The Commission has advised holders of qualifications obtained in the UK before the UK leaves the EU to obtain recognition in a EU27 Member State before Brexit.


Your business should consider

How will your future travel to the EU for the servicing of contracts or other purposes be affected?

Are you and your employees aware of changes to rules around passport use and other travel changes?

Will there be changes to requirements for travelling by air, rail and other modes?

What will be your skills and labour needs over the next few years?

Will you need to hire someone from outside the UK?

What steps will you need to take to hire them?

Could different arrangements (remote working) be feasible for your business?


Resources and information

UK Government guidance on passport rules after Brexit: Passport rules for travel to Europe after Brexit.

Check the non-EEA visa requirements for the country you are visiting: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

FCO EU Exit information for UK nationals living in or travelling to and from the EU - includes work, education, recognition of professional qualifications etc, Important EU Exit Information for UK Nationals

FCO information on the rights and status of UK nationals living in the European Union, European Economic Area (EEA) and European Free Trade Area (EFTA), and Switzerland: Advice for British Nationals Travelling and Living in Europe

Information on travel modes and what you may need to do to travel to or in the EU and EEA after the UK leaves the EU. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/passenger-travel-to-the-eu-by-air-rail-or-sea-after-brexit

Eurostar has stated that, in relation to ‘turn up and go’ services, ” We don't anticipate any impact to our service in the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal. We advise making sure that you have six months' validity at least on your passport at the time of your journey.” https://www.eurostar.com/uk-en

Staff may require a visa to undertake any work in the EU. Information on the rights of UK nationals travelling in the European Union, European Economic Area (EEA) and European Free Trade Area (EFTA), and Switzerland https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-nationals-travelling-to-eu-essential-information

EU published guidance - Commission’s Brexit Professional Qualification Preparedness Notice

If you transfer staff between businesses in your group, or run a graduate training scheme, future restrictions may apply. Current non-EEA Intra Company Transfers fall under the UK’s Tier 2 sponsorship arrangements www.gov.uk/uk-visa-sponsorship-employers

The future skills-based immigration system white paper sets out the government's plans to introduce a new single immigration system, from January 2021, ending free movement. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-uks-future-skills-based-immigration-system

Workforce and future skills needs

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Context

The government has issued guidance for employers of EU/EEA/Swiss citizens who wish to live and work in the UK after we the EU.

EU citizens already in the UK or arriving before EU exit day

EU nationals and their family members who have lived in the UK for at least five years by 31 December 2020 will be able to apply for UK Settled Status. Those who have been here for less than 5 years, can apply for Pre-Settled status until they meet the full criteria. The deadline for applications is 30 June 2021.

Irish citizens do not need to apply to the settlement scheme to protect their rights in the UK, unless they wish to. Non-Irish, non-British family members of Irish citizens will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if they want to stay in the UK after 31 December 2020.

EU citizens arriving in the UK after Brexit day

EU/EEA/Swiss citizens newly arriving in the UK during the period after EU Exit, and before the new skills-based immigration system is introduced, can apply for EU Temporary Leave to Remain (EuroTLR). The deadline is 31 December 2020. This will provide temporary immigration status for 36 months from the date it is granted.

EU Temporary Leave to Remain is not extendable and will not guarantee a route to settlement in the UK. To stay beyond 36 months, people will need to apply and qualify under the new future immigration system in 2021. Employers should continue to conduct the same Right to Work checks they currently do, using EU/EEA/Swiss citizens’ passport or national identity card, until 2021. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/european-temporary-leave-to-remain-in-the-uk.

EU Immigration after 1 January 2021

From 1 January, the UK’s new immigration regime will apply. This skills-based system will impose various restrictions, including a salary threshold for skilled workers and a time-restricted visa for lower skilled workers. The British Chambers of Commerce is advising the Home Office on this, using feedback from across the UK Chamber Network.

Your business should consider

What percentage of your UK workforce is from the EU27?

Do your staff know the next steps to take to register as an EU citizen working in the UK?

What can you do to help retain skills and labour?

Resources and information

The EU Settlement Scheme is open to 30 June 2021. Applications are free of charge. www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families

The Home Office has published an Employer Toolkit which covers the key details of the EU Settlement Scheme, information and materials with which to support affected staff and their families:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-employer-toolkit

Guidance is now available on GOV.UK in 23 official EU languages, as well as in Norwegian, Icelandic and Welsh. There are also other translated assets, which include:

HO guidance on the EU Settlement Scheme Assisted Digital service: EU Settlement Scheme Assisted Digital Service for applicants who don’t have the appropriate access, skills or confidence to complete the form. The locations where people can get a biometric ID document scanned if they do not have an Android device with near field communication (NFC) can be found here: EU Settlement Scheme: ID document scanner locations

Home Office have published guidance on organisations funded to provide support to vulnerable and at-risk EU citizens applying to the EU Settlement Scheme: EU Settlement Scheme: community support for vulnerable citizens

UK Government has released a policy paper outlining the UK Government's action to protect the rights of UK nationals living in the EU https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/policy-paper-on-the-rights-of-uk-nationals-in-the-eu

The Government has announced arrangements for EU citizens arriving in the UK during the period after Brexit and before the new skills-based immigration system is introduced in 2021. Updated guidance for EU citizens is here and here

Guidance for employers on right to work checks is here .

Those who want to stay in the UK beyond the initial 3-month visa free period, can apply for EU Temporary Leave to Remain from within the UK for up to 36 additional months. The deadline for applications is 31.12.2020.