Lingering Misconceptions Employers Have 7 Months Post-Brexit

August 12, 2021

We’re continuing our discussion with Ray Rackham, Managing Director UK for CIBTvisas and Newland Chase, surrounding post-Brexit surprises and lingering misconceptions that employers have.

This is the second of a two-part interview; in case you missed it, the first instalment can be found here.

Q: What are the biggest surprises post-Brexit?

Ray: Migration was a defining issue of the 2016 Referendum, and many of the impacts have been discussed at length. One might ask, after such lengthy and healthy debate over the last five years, can there be any more surprises?

There also remains some uncertainty as to the consequences of not following some of the new schemes. This is particularly true around European nationals who have lived in the UK prior to Brexit and are eligible to register under the European Union Settlement Scheme, but have failed to do so before the 30th June deadline or before the recently announced 28 day notice thereafter.

Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has also sharpened the focus on some elements of post-Brexit impact, that may not have been so clear otherwise, and some of the impacts are being felt across industries. For example, pressure is mounting on the export and hospitality industries in particular, with companies experiencing difficulties in hiring staff as pandemic restrictions are relaxed and the demand for goods and services returns. Within the last month, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has called on the government to urgently review its post-Brexit immigration policy to prevent damaging skills shortages from undermining the UK’s economic recovery.

It is very clear that there will continue to be a number of issues that will come to light as employers and individuals navigate the new rules.

Q: What are some lingering misconceptions that employers have post-Brexit?

Ray: As I’ve mentioned before, the undoing of forty plus years of migratory behaviour in and out of the UK will take some time and will also require an operational culture change across all organisations.

Under the UK’s new immigration system, EU nationals can continue to visit the UK without obtaining a visa, as long as they only perform certain activities. In most cases, business visitors can stay for up to six months in any rolling 12-month period.

It is more important, however, to be aware that there are a number of activities that are prohibited without work authorisation, and there continues to be a number of misconceptions on what is or is not allowed. It is absolutely worthwhile to get it right, as the risks are high for undertaking prohibited activities, and penalties for non-compliance can be severe.

Q: All of which leads us to another important question: even if you get it right, are you prepared for the outcome?

Ray: Another recurring misconception is the assumption that the procedural requirements and costs for work authorisation are similar to those of a business visa; and whilst it is true that there have been measures in the UK, for example, to simplify the work authorisation process, the Skilled Worker route is still significantly more involved than applying for a business travel visa.

The cost and complexity of a work authorisation application should be considered at the outset. Work authorisation applications typically have defined eligibility requirements, require a greater number of supporting documents, and take time; none of which would have been considered for European nationals into the UK prior to 2021.

There are also significant cost implications, which could force employers to look at more cost neutral ways of achieving their goals at a moment’s notice, as the cost assumptions of transferring European nationals into the UK were not considered fully. (Read more about this topic in our previous blog, A Tale of Two Budgets: Business Travel vs. Work Authorisation.)

What has been your biggest post-Brexit business travel surprise? Tell us about your post-Brexit successes and frustrations – email us.

Newland Chase stands ready to support you and your travel programme. Contact your dedicated Client Services Manager today for more information. Don’t have a Client Services Manager? Contact us.

This publication is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. Readers are reminded that immigration laws are subject to change. We are not responsible for any loss arising from reliance on this publication. Please contact CIBTvisas or Newland Chase should you require any additional clarification or case specific advice.