Posts Tagged ‘Brexit’

EU Citizens – Post Brexit News

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

On 26 June 2017, the government published its proposals which in their view will “safeguard the position of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU”.

To summarise, the UK is proposing the following:

  • EU citizens who have resided in the UK for five years and continue to be resident in the UK will be entitled to “settled status”. In the proposal, “settled status” is said to be to indefinite leave to remain pursuant to the Immigration Act 1971.They will have to make an application to obtain the settled status document. Family dependents who join before Brexit will be able to apply for settled status irrespective of the specified date.
  • There will be a “cut-off date” which is still being considered and negotiated and at the moment is 29th March 2017. This could mean that EU nationals who have entered since 29 March 2017 could possibly have no rights and be forced to leave the UK unless they make an immigration application for further leave to remain in accordance with the immigration rules at the time. An example would be EU students.
  • EU Nationals who arrived in the EU before the “cut-off date” but have not lived in the UK for five years will be allowed to remain until they reach five years, when they will be given “settled status”. During that time, they will be given “temporary status”.
  • There will be an automatic “grace period” of up to 2 years between the date the UK leaves the EU and the date all EU citizens will need to have a “residence document” confirming their status in the UK.

The proposals seem to be a waste of time for those who already have permanent residence documents, which would be considered worthless by the Home Office after Brexit. If they do not apply again under the new system, they would be deemed illegal and their inaction criminal by remaining in the UK after the agreed transition period. Certain rights currently enshrined in EU law would be preserved, including benefits, healthcare and pensions entitlements.

At first glance, the proposals appear unreasonable and impractical in terms of removal of EU citizens. They were also strangely proposed late, a year after Brexit was announced which is not re assuring for any EU national.

It is important to remember that at the moment these are just proposals by the UK. They have been tabled as part of a negotiation process. The UK proposals may change, either becoming more generous as part of the negotiation or being withdrawn partially or in full if the negotiations fail.

If you would like more information, please speak to our Immigration specialist, Alvyn Kee, on 020 7998 7777 or email him at alvyn.kee@bloomsbury-law.com for more information.

Immigration Services

Prime Minister Confirms Protection Of Workers’ Rights

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Prime Minister Theresa May has at the start of the Conservative Party Conference given hope to many workers in the UK that current employment laws will be protected, and that new ones will be implemented to reflect modern-day work practices.

Firstly in debating the continuing saga of Brexit the Prime Minister has now confirmed that a Great Repeal Bill will form part of the next Queen’s speech which will ultimately repeal the European Communities Act 1972.  This is the act that many complain has led to the erosion of UK sovereignty and independence over time.

Once the European Communities Act 1972 has been repealed it is envisaged that all current EU laws including EU derived employment laws will become part of UK domestic law and in turn the government is then free to retain or repeal those laws as it sees fit. The European Court of Justice will also no longer have the overall say on our laws and the British courts will be completely sovereign.

In a new development the Prime Minister has also appointed Matthew Taylor, a former policy chief working under former Prime Minister Tony Blair to review and to look at how to extend worker’s rights in the so called ‘gig’ economy.

In her own words, the Prime Minister has said that she wants to be ‘certain that employment regulation and practices are keeping pace with the changing world of work’ which includes the growth in part-time working and the use of self-employed contractors by for example Uber and Deliveroo.

The concern as is evidenced by two test cases this summer, is that many of these self-employed contractors are not eligible for the most basic of legal rights for example the national minimum or living wage, statutory sick pay, and statutory holiday and maternity pay. The judgments of these two test cases is due to be issued by the Employment Tribunal this autumn.

This review will also focus on zero-hours contracts which are increasing in number and which thanks to companies like Sports Direct have received some very unwelcome publicity and cause for concern.

At a time when worker’s rights were thought to be at risk following Brexit it now seems that the Government is keen to protect and in some instances extend those rights. The devil of course is always in the detail and we will need to await further announcements from the Government as to which specific rights will be protected or extended and which new rights will be introduced.

Call Steven Eckett, our employment solicitor on 020 7998 7777 for more information or email him at steven.eckett@bloomsbury-law.com.

Post-Brexit Immigration Update

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Following on from the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, what would be the implications from an EEA National’s perspective?

It should be pointed out that the referendum on 23 June 2016 has no immediate legal effect and all remains the same for the time being. Thus, EU citizens living with their families in the UK are free to enter and leave the UK.

At the moment, the UK have not activated Article 50 which initiates their departure from the EU and this will probably be a two year process as treaties are negotiated. No one is sure when this will happen.

What we do know is that the UK government has mentioned that they seek to properly protect the rights of EU nationals and their family.

Having said that, there is no clear indication as to what the UK government will offer in terms of rights and legal basis. Rest assured something will be offered. Ideally, the Norwegian model would suit EU nationals well as free movement laws would most likely be unaffected. There will be a period of transition.

The groups that may want to re assess their position are the ones who have not applied for any residence cards or possess sickness insurance. Non EU citizens who have previously benefited from the expanded EU case law like Zambrano or have retained rights of residence may also feel the need to worry given the UK government’s stance and resistance against them in the first instance.

It might be an idea for the above to apply for residence cards merely to confirm their status and further safeguard their legal position. Following in the same vein, it may also be useful for a person who is able to qualify for permanent residence to do so at once as there will most likely be transitional arrangements in place

It is advisable and prudent to obtain legal advice from a specialist immigration solicitor before making any proposed application.

Please speak to our Immigration specialist Alvyn Kee on 020 7998 7777 or email him at alvyn.kee@bloomsbury-law.com for more information.

Employment Law Update – July 2016

Monday, August 1st, 2016

No changes to employment law says the Secretary of State for Brexit

The Secretary of State for Brexit– David Davis – has suggested that UK employment law will not be radically changed after the UK leaves the European Union.

He said in a blog for Conservative Home that ‘Britain has a relatively flexible workforce, and so long as the employment law environment stays reasonably stable it should not be a problem for businesses’. Mr Davis further added that ‘There is also a political, or perhaps sentimental, point. The great British industrial working classes voted overwhelmingly for Brexit. I am not at all attracted by the idea of rewarding them by cutting their rights’.

In the meantime we have no idea when Article 50 will be triggered or what will be negotiated in the interim period as a price for the UK to have access to the EU single market. This could for example include the retention of minimum employment law standards affecting TUPE and the Working Time Regulations. Currently everything appears to be uncertain and up in the air and the next couple of years are going to be interesting as Brexit is negotiated with our EU neighbours and implemented.

New Prime Minster promises worker representation on UK Boards

The UK’s new Prime Minister Theresa May in her opening speech as conservative party leader has promised that her government will serve the many and not the privileged few and was at the service of ordinary working people.

As part of that pledge Mrs May has also vowed to ensure that there is worker representation on the UK’s Boards of major companies as well as consumer representation. Her words have also pleased the Trades Union Congress where its General Secretary Frances O’Grady said that ‘Workers have a clear interest in the long-term success of their companies and deserve a bigger say’.

Currently some EU countries take worker representation seriously including Germany, Sweden and Denmark. It now look as though the UK will now follow.

New immigration laws on employing illegal workers come into effect

New laws came into effect on 12 July 2016 which imposes tougher penalties and sanctions for employing illegal workers which are designed to create a more hostile environment for undocumented migrants. The focus and impact will hit employers with heavy fines and imprisonment for those individuals who hire illegal workers.

Historically it has been an offence to knowingly employ a person who is not authorised to work in the UK and employers faced a penalty of £10,000 per illegal worker that they employed. This penalty increased to £20,000 as a result of the Immigration Act 2014, however from this month new tougher penalties come into effect.

The bench mark has now been lowered so that not only employers who knowingly employ illegal workers will be caught but also those who have ‘reasonable cause to believe that the employee is disqualified from employment by reason of the employee’s immigration status.

Any breaches of the new laws could result in a maximum period of imprisonment of up to five years for Directors and business owners.

Employees are also targeted in the new legislation where those found to be working illegally could face imprisonment of up to 51 weeks and/or a fine in England and Wales, and imprisonment of up to six months and/or a fine in Scotland and Northern Ireland. An illegal worker’s salary can now also be seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Immigration Officers also have new powers now to search an employer’s premises and to confiscate any evidence of illegal worker activity and offences.

There are also proposals to close premises for up to 48 hours where a company is found to have employed illegal workers but these have not yet been implemented.

It is strongly recommended that employers protect themselves by obtaining the employee’s original right to work documentation from the Home Office’s prescribed list before allowing a worker to commence employment and to question the validity of the document with the employee in person. Employers are also advised to keep clear copies of the documentation and to mark the date that the documents were checked and if possible to get this witnessed and verified.

There is also a new skills charge of £1,000 for employees who are sponsored to work in the UK and who come from outside the European Economic Area, which comes into effect in April 2017. These provisions may well be diluted or abolished once we have a timetable in place for Brexit.

Employment Tribunal Judgments can soon be viewed on-line

Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service has confirmed that future employment tribunal judgments will be made publicly available on-line from the autumn.

Their database will allow a search of all first instance decisions across the UK.

This will be a welcome development as the only way of accessing these decisions at the moment is to attend the Central Employment Tribunal offices at Bury St Edmunds for decisions made in England and Wales and Glasgow for Scottish decisions.

Call Steven Eckett on 020 7998 7777 for more information or email him at steven.eckett@bloomsbury-law.com.

Will The Brexit Decision Have An Effect On Lawyer’s Future Work?

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Many industries will be affected by the departure, especially the property market. However, the UK’s exit could affect lawyer’s future work. Changes in legislation could potentially remove areas of work for lawyers. However, the exit could potentially create more work lawyers who need to explain the change to clients and businesses, and therefore prove beneficial in some cases.

Most of Britain’s employment law comes from the European directives. When looking at intellectual property law, current UK and European patent law originates from Switzerland. Pan-European patents are currently granted through the EPO (European Patent Office) in Munich. UK-only patents can be obtained through the UKIPO (UK Intellectual Property Office). In addition to this, brexit could lead to a decrease in the volume of competition-related litigation.

Post-Brexit business and the legal industry will largely depend on the nature of our relationship with the EU, should we continue to have a strong relationship.

Can the law stop Brexit?

Lawyers are currently wondering how the UK’s departure from the European Union might be slowed or stopped. This all depends on whether;

  • Article 50 is trigged;
  • Whether there is a second national referendum; and
  • Potentially a Scottish “block”.

The referendum itself is not legally binding in UK Law and this alone does not trigger the departure from the EU. Having a second referendum is politically wrong and controversial. Before the vote, the second referendum had 22 signatures. It has currently been signed by over 4 million people. It called for a change in the referendum rules requiring a second vote if either side achieved less than 60% on a turnout of less than 75%. If the petition could show that a clear majority of the electorate now wanted to remain, maybe we would see a change in the departure from the EU, but as it currently stands, it would take something of a constitutional crisis to turn the results around.

Nicola Sturgeon, current First Minister of Scotland, suggested that the Scottish parliament could block the passage of legislation necessary for the UK to leave the EU. ­Sturgeon stated that if a second independence referendum is held, it would be a re-run of the 2014 referendum. Every local authority in Scotland voted to remain, so we can only imagine how the Scottish general public are feeling with the result. Sturgeon stated that: “This would not be a decision about Scotland leaving anywhere, this would be a decision of Scotland staying and therefore the moral argument about us retaining the current terms that we have would be even stronger than in 2014.”

It seems unlikely that the results will be reversed.  Lawyers can raise valid arguments as to how the referendum could be reversed, but in this instance, politics has the upper edge over the law.

What is Article 50?

Article 50 is a basic five-step plan to leave the European Union should any member chose to do so. The UK’s exit has to be approved and negotiated with the remaining 27 members of the EU. Once the UK has informed the EU that it is withdrawing under Article 50, the article states that: “the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it”. Although we have officially voted to leave the EU, it may still be some time before the UK can declare themselves as independent. The UK has two years to trigger Article 50, and during those two years the UK can participate in EU business as normal. Furthermore, the UK may not participate in any discussions with the EU about its own withdrawal.

Once Article 50 is triggered, the UK may not withdraw its decision to leave unless by way of unanimous consent from all other member states. Until Article 50 is triggered, the UK will continue to be in a state of limbo, economically and politically.

When will Article 50 be triggered?

Due to the UK public voting to leave, they have set the clock ticking on a two-year timetable to departure. David Cameron said that the decision will be up to his successor, who may not be in place until 9 September 2016. European leaders have urged the UK government to initiate Article 50 sooner rather than later to avoid any future turmoil in the relationship between the UK and EU. The UK could potentially jeopardize close trading relationships and opportunities with the EU, should they wish to delay the withdrawal. This would be disastrous for the UK after the economy has suffered heavily following the vote to leave.

Fundamentally, no one knows when Article 50 will be triggered, but we do know that prolonging its decision could cause unnecessary stress to the UK’s economy and their EU relationships in the future.

Leading Solicitors in London