Planning for your workforce post Brexit

Employers are increasingly concerned about recruitment post Brexit, with the number of EEA workers coming to the UK falling as devaluation of the pound makes the UK a less attractive destination, with added uncertainty about the future.


The position regarding employment of EEA works post Brexit is still not clear, although what we do know:


EEA Nationals who are already in the UK

  • EEA nationals and their families who have been in the UK lawfully for 5 years will be able to apply for settled status.
  • EEA nationals and their families who have not been in the UK for 5 years but are in the UK lawfully on the date we leave the European Union will be able to apply for temporary residence. They will then be able to apply for settled status once they have been here for 5 years.
  • If an individual has settled status they will be able to reside freely and work in the UK.


Restrictions on EEA workers post Brexit

Post Brexit it is likely that migration restrictions on EEA workers will be imposed. This could be a skills-based system - but we do not yet know the form this will take or the likely cost implications for employers. We do know that the current system for recruiting non EEA workers is a points based system, which is costly and more complex for employers.


Non EEA Workers

Most recruitment is likely to be under Tier 2 for sponsored workers. An employer recruiting from outside the EEA must have a sponsor’s licence and must apply for a certificate of sponsorship for the worker before they enter the UK. All roles must meet a baseline salary depending on circumstances. Skilled workers must be paid an appropriate salary for their role - which is set in the immigration rules. The fees which an employer must pay to recruit a Tier 2 worker are also a factor to consider. For a large company (employing more than 50 people) there is the one off cost of a sponsor’s licence of £1476. Employers could face costs as high as over £7,000 per employee. The current cost of a 5 year visa are as follows:





Costs will differ if you are a small company or if your Tier 2 worker is employed for 3 years or less. Home Office fees are subject to regular change.


Low skilled workers

Tier 3, which covers temporary low skilled workers has been suspended in the UK indefinitely, meaning that it is not currently possible for workers from outside the EEA to obtain a work permit to work in these roles in the UK. Proposals currently indicate that there is likely to be some provision for low skilled workers to come from the EU to work in the UK but no details or formal policy has yet been announced. As there is no clear post Brexit policy yet for EEA workers it is very difficult for employers to budget for future recruitment costs, but it is to be hoped that the new system will not be based on the current non EEA points based system.


If you are concerned about the impact of Brexit on your workforce, sign up for our Brexit Bulletin or regular updates on developments HERE.


The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.