Immigration & Brexit – Queen’s Speech 2017

Brexit featured heavily in the Queen’s Speech of course, and negotiations for UK’s exit from the EU are underway. She began her speech:

‘My government’s priority is to secure the best possible deal as the country leaves the European Union. My ministers are committed to working with Parliament, the devolved administrations, business and others to build the widest possible consensus on the country’s future outside the European Union.’

The Repeal Bill (formerly known as the Great Repeal Bill) is at the centre of the Government’s Brexit plans and will convert EU law into UK law on leaving the EU in March 2019. The Immigration Bill will end the free movement of EU nationals to the UK. The Queen and the Government have yet to declare a definitive number for this cap and the restrictions they will put in place.

Other Bills relevant to Brexit were touched on:

  • Customs Bill
  • Trade Bill
  • Fisheries Bill
  • Agriculture Bill
  • Nuclear Safeguards Bill
  • International Sanctions Bill
  • Data Protection Bill

Since The Queen’s Speech, Teresa May and her Government have published their Summary Proposals for ‘Safeguarding the position of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU’. Some of the proposals it outlines are:

  • All EU citizens and their families residing in the UK will need to obtain an immigration status, regardless of when they arrived in the UK. With evidence of their residence they will need to apply to the Home Office for permission to stay.
  • All EU nationals who have lawfully been a residence in the UK for at least five years will be able to apply for “settled status” and can bring children and spouse to the UK
  • EU nationals who come to the UK after a ‘specified date’ (yet to be agreed) will have two years to “regularise their status”, however there are no guarantees for this
  • That the Government expects EU countries to mirror these immigration policies for UK nationals living in EU countries
  • It further details proposals for EU citizens who were residents before and after the specified date, family members of EU citizens living in the UK and the application process

The Queen went on to talk about relationships and trade between the UK and the EU and her hopes for a continuing working relationship.

We will all be watching the Brexit negotiations closely and wait to see what the true impact of Brexit will be on organisations. However, it can be said that accessing human personnel from the EU will be increasingly tricky which will have an impact on certain sectors with a higher migrant workforce.

For any support with managing your employees throughout the Brexit process – please contact our Employment Lawyers and HR Consultants on 01892 773970 or email info@lochassociatesgroup.co.uk

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