Immigration Updates from the Worldwide ERC Global Workforce Symposium 2018

I recently attended the Worldwide ERC Global Workforce Symposium in Seattle, WA where I had the opportunity to attend the Government Affairs Immigration Forum, with around 100 Global Mobility and Immigration professionals.

The forum had two focus points; ‘around the world in 60 minutes’ (a rapid-fire set of global Immigration policy updates), before turning to the hottest Immigration topic at the conference; Brexit!

Below is a snap shot of some of the key points for the European region, including the UK and Brexit.


‘B-word’ aside, there is a core focus on harmonising and standardising polices in the EU. Unlike the US, where mobility from one state to another is effortless, it can be a very problematic process.

To address this, there has been an emphasis on streamlining and implementing a universal process across the EU region, particularly for business movement.  Directives in the region include:

  • Single Permit Directive - One Step Individual process
  • Intra Company Transfer - Short term transfer, under 3 months from one EU country to another
  • Posted Worker Directive - Ensuring pay and conditions equal for Foreign and European Nationals
  • Smart Boarders - Utilising new technology, improving efficiency and speed at the boarders

UK & Brexit

My British contacts will agree that every day there seems to be a new report or news article highlighting what would happen in the scenario of a hard Brexit. At this stage, no one can predict what is going to happen with any certainty - it is a waiting game to see the outcome.

As the current arrangement stands, Brexit will occur on 29 March 2019, followed by a period known as the transitional period, which is due to end on the 31 December 2020.

One key component that has been agreed is the EU Settlement Scheme, guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and of UK nationals living in the EU.

  • EU citizens who by 31st December 2020 have been in the UK for more than 5 years will receive settled status.
  • EU citizens who by 31st December 2020 have been in the UK less than 5 years will receive ‘Presettled Status’ enabling them to stay until they have reached the five-year threshold

Registration for ‘Settled’ or ‘Presettled Status’ is completed quickly via a streamlined mobile app. The process is being rolled out gradually, the 1st phase was completed in August for the NHS and Academics in the North of the UK. There was a 100% pass rate and phase 2 is to be rolled out for NHS and Academics across the rest of the UK shortly.

January 2021 is when the New UK Immigration process is going to be rolled out, at this stage there is isn’t too much information on what this is going to look like, but it will require EU and Non-EU cooperation with all parties following the same process.

Impact and Future Planning

It is vital that employers of all sizes, start reviewing their current work force, identifying the percentage of EU and Non-EU workers and how this will affect recruitment strategies post 2020. 

Potential new immigration rules after Brexit are going to have a significant impact on recruitment. All EU nationals may be required to obtain sponsorship (in a similar arrangement to those currently completed by non-EU Nationals).

The additional cost of sponsorship will need to be factored into the hiring process and talent teams need to be aware the time to hire will also lengthen as a result. It is worth noting, there is likely to be a quota for the number of successful applicants per month and no guarantee an application will be successful.

It is highly recommended to start the planning now, look to see if there is capability to bring in any required new EU employees by the 31st December 2020 to avoid the uncertainty and additional costs.

Written by Ian Mael – Global Account Manager - - Immigration & Expatriate Services at Alchemy Recruitment Ltd.

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