The EU referendum resulted in a vote to leave the EU. To help you understand what happens next, the exit process and some of the issues that businesses should be considering now, Eversheds has assembled a broad range of guidance notes, as well as updates on developments, on our Brexit hub.
In terms of employment law, our view is that the likelihood of major change is small, at least in the short to medium term. Instead, delay and uncertainty followed by piecemeal change, which would depend on the terms of the UK’s relationship with the EU after it leaves, is more likely (see our briefing). Of much greater concern to many employers is the impact Brexit may have on the free movement of workers.
In theory, on exit, citizens of other Member States will no longer enjoy an automatic right to travel to and work in the UK (and vice versa). However, as discussed in our Making Sense of Brexit briefing, the position in respect of migration and free movement of people is linked to the Brexit model that is adopted during the exit negotiations.
We expect existing EU workers to be allowed to remain in the UK after we leave. What happens during the negotiation period is interesting. In theory, free movement of people should continue up to the point of exit, meaning that employers can expect new workers to arrive from the EU during this period. However, Vote Leave said in the campaign that it wanted to introduce an Asylum and Immigration Control Bill as soon as possible to end the automatic right of all EU citizens to enter the UK to work. This would, however, place the UK in breach of its international obligations. This illustrates one of the uncertainties following the leave vote and indicates that will be some time before the terms of the UK’s future relationship with the EU are settled.