Queen's speech: concern for employees on international assignment post-Brexit

Global mobility specialist, ECA International, advises on how Brexit may affect UK-based EU nationals during short and long-term international assignments.

The Queen and Prince Charles prepare for the Queen's Speech in the Houses of Parliament

Copyright House of Lords 2019 / Photography by Roger Harris https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

Following Monday’s announcement of the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination Bill, global mobility specialist, ECA International (ECA) has seen a spike in enquiries from global businesses on how to protect their UK-based, EU national employees whilst travelling for business.Uncertainty remains for 2.27m EU nationals working in the UK on how applicants for settled status may be affected if posted on short and long-term assignments abroad by their employer, post-Brexit.Ema Boccagni, Commercial Director EMEA at ECA International said, “Although the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination Bill will safeguard the rights of those that have Indefinite Leave to Remain status, uncertainty remains for those who have not yet lived in the UK for the required time frame of over five years, if posted on short or long-term international assignments. We’re working closely with our clients to best prepare them for all eventualities.”

Uncertainty for Brits employed in the EU

An estimated 1.3 million Brits work within the Eurozone and it is not certain whether they will hold an automatic right to continue working within the host EU country once the UK leaves the European Union. Therefore, further uncertainty surrounds British employees based in the EU, taking assignments elsewhere (third-country nationals).Boccagni added, “If a UK passport holder is employed in Germany and currently on assignment to the USA, they may need a permit to continue working in Germany if they’re repatriated after Brexit. To limit disruption, businesses must work with their global mobility teams to identify any assignees who hold third-country national status and prepare any necessary visa or work permit applications ahead of repatriation.”A summary of advice being given to clients by ECA International include:
  • Organise visas and necessary work permits in advance of Brexit for affected assignees, and be aware of possible delays caused by the application process
  • Review all cross-border working arrangements, including any existing or future commuter or posted worker agreements. Checking to ensure compliance to avoid any immigration, social security or tax repercussions for the assignee
  • Global Mobility and Talent Management teams should identify third party nationals in advance of Brexit in order to apply for necessary visa or work permit applications.
  • Consult assignees working towards gaining UK citizenship, as it is not yet clear if any temporary absences from the UK on long-term, short-term, commuter or rotator assignments will create a roadblock in attaining permanent residency. Due to uncertainties, EU nationals may understandably be reluctant to accept any assignments out of the UK.
For further information, please visit ECA International.

For more news, visit our Brexit section.

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