Official Brexit day is here. Are you doing everything you can to retain your EU staff post-Brexit?

Emma Brooksbank is Partner and Head of Freeths’ northern immigration team and has the rundown of what steps you can be taking here…


The impact of losing European members of staff would be detrimental to most businesses, large and small. We will look briefly at the current status for European nationals in the UK and at the steps that employers can be taking now to support their employees in retaining their entitlement to reside and work lawfully in the UK.

Current Status of EU Nationals in the UK

EU nationals currently benefit from free movement provisions. These are expected to come to an end on 1 January 2021. All European nationals need to secure leave to remain under our domestic legislation if they are to retain their rights after the end of free movement. The EU Settlement Scheme is the mechanism for European nationals to secure their rights. The deadline for applications will be 30 June 2021, ideally though applications would be made before the end of free movement, by 31 December 2020. If they are required to register and they fail to do so, European nationals will technically be residing unlawfully in the United Kingdom and will not be able to continue in work until they resolve their immigration status.

Top Tips for Employers of an EU workforce

• Ensure that all employees are aware of the EU Settlement Scheme and that those affected have the support and resource they need to make their application. You could provide links to Home Office guidance, time during the working day to apply, access to a PC and/or mobile device, advice workshops and/or one to one support.

• Use this year to proactively consider who in your business will be impacted by Brexit and ensure that you have a mechanism for monitoring registration to the scheme. You will need to identify those who have not applied prior to the deadline and offer additional support as required. 

• Be alert to the new immigration system which will be introduced in January 2021. Use this to inform your recruitment planning for 2021 and beyond.

Emma Brooksbank is Partner and Head of Freeths’ northern immigration team. 
Emma’s key focus area is business immigration, particularly matters involving Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 5 of the Points Based System. Emma predominantly acts for HR teams in Higher Education Institutions and corporate entities. She operates across sectors but with particular focus on higher education, digitech, logistics, NHS, private health and care, and drinks, hospitality and leisure. 
Emma has close links with senior policy advisors at the Home Office and has been engaged in the roll out of the settled status scheme for European nationals in higher education and the consultation process for the 2021 immigration system. 

If you’re confused about Brexit and your business and want to make sure your business model is sustainable, then get in touch to see how we can help. As part of local growth hub The Women’s Organisation act as a broker to offer advice, guidance and connection to support. Call 0151 706 8111 or e-mail