How to Prepare for Brexit at Work – Part 1

The UK has triggered the Article 50 on 29th March 2017, which leaves the country with two years to negotiate a deal to leave the EU. This means employers have until 29th March 2017 to prepare. The picture is certainly far from clear for many firms and organisations but there are certain things businesses can do to prepare for Brexit at work to ensure that things will tick over as smoothly as physically possible.

How to Prepare for Brexit at Work

Conducting an audit is a good place to begin for preparing for Brexit at work. Collecting data about your employees will ensure that you hold an accurate understanding of your workforce. Employers need to know which of their employees are EEA nationals in the UK and which are UK nationals in the EEA. How employers communicate this audit is vital as it could unnecessarily alarm employees.

Employees could fill out a short survey in order to provide the following information:

  • Nationality
  • Location
  • Job Role
  • Start date with the Organisation.
  • Contact Details
  • Length of Residence in the Country.

Assess the Potential Impact on Employees

Once you have sufficient and reliable information about your workforce and particularly European migrant workers, there are several ways in which you could use the data to further prepare for Brexit at work:

  • Identify how many employees will be affected by changes to immigration rules.
  • Identify who may qualify for permanent residency.
  • Determine how much it would cost to offer immigration assistance for the affected employees.
  • Communicate with affected employees and explain how the business can prepare for Brexit in the workplace.
  • Assess whether a specific business area or job role is likely to be affected.

Identify Potential Skill Gaps and Labour Shortage

Using the data gathered thanks to an audit of the workforce, employers can identify potential skills gaps and labour shortage. Employers should have a strategy in place so they can address potential issues before Brexit and avoid being unable to recruit certain roles once the UK has left the EU. This will ensure that you are covering all bases while you prepare for at work.

The long term plan will differ depending on the situation of your organisation, but there are certain things that your strategy should take into account:

  • Assess what roles are filled by EEA nationals in the UK.
  • Identify whether there is a skills or labour shortage within the resident labour market.
  • Assess whether the roles would qualify for work permission and whether they will need a tier 2 sponsor licence as you prepare for Brexit at work.
  • Consider whether the costs of obtaining work permission would be prohibitive or not.
  • Run a recruitment programme for specific roles affected by the skills or labour shortage, including apprenticeships if relevant.
  • Consider whether the roles affected could be relocated outside the UK.
  • Consider whether the business should lobby for recognition of certain occupations as being in shortage.
  • Prepare for Brexit at work by always clearly and concisely communicating proposed changes with your employees.

In part 2, we’ll continue detail other ways businesses can prepare for Brexit at work. In the meantime, if you’d like advice or require support to identify potential impact on your workforce, why not get in touch?

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