Employers across East Lancashire are being advised by leading regional law firm Napthens to make vital checks to their staffing ahead of changes to immigration policies as a result of Brexit.
With fewer than 100 days until the end of the current EU transition period on December 31, the firm is supporting businesses across the region to plan for major changes in hiring EU, EEA and Swiss nationals from January 1, 2020 onwards.
Angela Barnes, senior associate solicitor at Napthens and business immigration specialist, has called on employers to take three vital steps to ensure they are prepared for the changes expected to be in place for workers for next year.
Speaking to local businesses during a special immigration webinar organised by the firm, Angela advised all employers to check the makeup of their staff and identify who may be affected by forthcoming changes, particularly in respect of the EU Settlement Scheme (“EUSS”).
Secondly, she advised all employers to check with those staff whether they needed any support or assistance with their application process. Finally, for those employers who could be left with significant staffing shortages caused by the ending of free movement on December 31, she advised them to consider the options under the UK’s new points-based system and, if appropriate, to apply for a Sponsor Licence now.
Establish how your business may be affected
Angela added: “Checking the status of your workers is a sensitive conversation to have, but it is vital to establish how your business may be affected by the ending of free movement on December 31.
“For some sectors, like agriculture, healthcare, hospitality and manufacturing, which often rely on so-called ‘low-skilled’ or seasonal workers, they will either need to be creative with recruitment policies to attract and retain more UK applicants next year, or explore the option of becoming a Sponsor under the UK’s new immigration system.
“There is undoubtedly a lot of change in the new immigration system that will come into place on January 1, but by planning ahead and working together we can help prepare the region for the challenges they face.”
Napthens has a range of expert advisors available to help businesses navigate the post-Brexit landscape, including changes to commercial contracts, employment law, data protection or outside investment and mergers.
For more detail on the Napthens Brexit support available, visit the Napthens website.