The end of free movement and the impact on recruitment: The end of freedom of movement will have a large impact on the UK tech sector which already suffers from a significant skills gap. To avoid further disruption to hiring and existing staffing UK tech companies will need to raise awareness among EU staff of the EU Settlement scheme and become familiar with UK government guidance on the hiring of EU nationals before and after a potential no deal exit. Businesses will need to consider factors such as increased costs for visas, potential delays in moving employees into the UK and the need for pre-travel assessments for business travellers.
Businesses will need to understand the immigration rules applying in the UK and the EU. EU/EEA/Swiss nationals (with the exception of Irish nationals) who are already residing in the UK as of 31 October 2019 will be able to continue residing and working in the UK. EU and EEA nationals (with the exception of Irish nationals) arriving in the UK after a no-deal Brexit will need to apply for a new non-skills based status known as European Temporary Leave to Remain, which will grant 36 months temporary leave to EU nationals. Thereafter, EU nationals will be subject to the same immigration control as all other third-country nationals (ie. US, Canadian, Australian etc.). UK nationals will need to adhere to the immigration rules set out by each individual EU Member State if seeking to work and reside in that Member State post-Brexit (if there is no deal).
The temporary movement of UK nationals to the EU to provide business functions, so called mode 4 of supply, will become much harder for UK nationals in the event of no deal. If the UK leaves without a deal the rules for mode 4 of supply will revert to WTO terms. The EU’s WTO schedule relating to mode 4 of supply restricts the maximum stay of a third country national to only three months in any 12 or for the duration of the business contract, whichever is the lower. That means offering a contract longer than three months from the UK to an EU client would be increasingly difficult to service without establishing an in market business presence following no deal.
UK nationals travelling to the EU for work will face immediate disruption to intra-company transfers or to provide ‘fly-in-fly out’ services. Businesses which regularly send UK staff to EU for work or provide ‘fly in-fly out’ services should begin to assess what impact respective Member State third-country immigration rules could have on their business models and whether they will have to begin establishing a business presence in key markets to ensure that their business model remains viable.