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Effects On Employment Law And Immigration Policy.

By Author: Hudson Mckenzie
Total Articles: 82

There is political weight on the UK Government to cut EU migration. Pending the negotiation of the withdrawal treaty, no immediate changes emerge. EU nationals will continue to be able to move freely, work and live in member states, including the UK. But the situation remains uncertain. In the longer term, if EU citizens here are no longer part of a free movement arrangement, new immigration rules will be required to regularise the position.

While a person’s authority to work remains an factor for employers, the prospect of free movement coming to an end means employers must now also ask:

• What does Brexit mean for employees who are EEA nationals?

• How can they be given useful and reassuring information on an inherently personal and uncertain topic?

• What needs to happen so that they and their families can continue to live in the UK?

• What about employing EEA nationals in the future?
The answer lays in a thorough consultation with the leading UK immigration lawyers.

A points-based system has been in place in the UK since 2008 to govern economic migration from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). Since the UK's Brexit vote, it's unclear what the UK’s future immigration policy will be for EEA nationals.

While major parts of existing EU law will primarily be wrapped into UK law under the "Great Repeal Bill," Britain will have the freedom to try and shape its own policy on touchstone issues including immigration — which is often cited as a major reason Britons voted to leave the EU in the first place.

May and senior cabinet colleagues have consistently declined to assure the right to remain to the 3 million European Union nationals who already live in the UK.

Trade minister Liam Fox has described EU nationals living in the UK as one of the government's "main bargaining chips" in upcoming negotiations, and May has argued that the UK would be left "high and dry" in negotiations by guaranteeing the rights of EU nationals without receiving similar assurances for UK nationals living in the EU.

Under EU law, member countries are bound by the mutual free movement of people, which means that they may not impose visa requirements, work permits, quotas or other immigration restrictions on each other’s citizens – EU nationals are free to live and work in any EU country with full access to labour markets. In the decade leading up to the Brexit referendum in June 2016, net migration from EU countries to the UK soared. This increase was largely made up of lower-skilled migrants from eight newly acceded Eastern European countries, namely the A8 group of countries, comprising Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, which joined the EU in 2004. The UK was one of only three EU countries (along with Ireland and Sweden) that decided not to impose labour access restrictions on citizens of the A8 countries, an option available to all EU members during the initial seven years of the new members’ accession agreement. According to the reputed UK immigration lawyers, “Migration from the A8 to the UK thus rose sharply in the following years, with the number of A8 nationals in the UK multiplying more than tenfold from 112,565 in 2004 to 1.2 million in 2015. The number of EU14 nationals in the UK, by contrast, remained comparatively flat, rising from 620,185 in 2004 to 794,527 in 2015. Against this backdrop, Brexiters promised that a break from the EU would allow the UK to end free movement, take control of its own borders and tamp down on unwanted immigration.”

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