Businesses : how to prepare for Brexit before D-Day?

10 October 2018 | Brexit

Concerns are raising about the possibility of reaching an agreement on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. If no agreement is found, the Brexit will be “though” and almost impossible to implement. Otherwise, the Member States concerned would be able to take advantage of the transition period to finally settle the terms and conditions of the Brexit.

In that case, how to better anticipate the consequences of the Brexit with regard to professional immigration?

The plight of the employees at stake

On the businesses’ side, uncertainties prevail, especially over the British employees working in France or the French nationals working in the UK.

In either case, interested parties today benefit from the freedom of movement within the EU area. Under such principle, any EU citizen and their family members may freely move to another EU country to travel, study, work and even reside.

As of March 29, 2019, the United Kingdom will become a third State to the EU, and conversely.

When the transition period ends in December 2020, new provisions providing for the employer’s responsibilities and obligations towards the foreign nationals involved (work permit, entry visa, resident permit…) will come into force.

However, to this day, no agreement on the movement of persons has been reached between the UK and Brussels, and all scenarios remain possible: from the more flexible to the more radical one.

On Tuesday October 2nd, the British Prime Minister Theresa May even announced that the new rules will give priority to qualified workers by removing the freedom of movement to EU citizens.

Recommendations from ITAMA

Up to now, there is no point in anticipating administrative actions. One must wait until the end of the negotiations and will require an additional time for their implementations into the administrations.

Whenever possible, it is advisable to postpone the employee’s mobility between France and the UK. This is all the more necessary insofar as in any case after the Brexit, the cost of a British employee in France or of a French employee in the UK will be patently higher. The cost-effectiveness of this kind of mobility will dramatically change.

In the very specific case where the employees in question hold dual citizenship (which is very common among the British citizens due to the Commonwealth), using the latter for the formalities remain an alternative even though more complex.

What about the transition period ?

On January 29, 2018, the 27 EU ministers adopted new guiding principles relating to the so-called transition period.

In that period (March 2019 until December 31, 2020), the rights of French expatriates in the UK or British nationals residing in France should not change.

Depending on the length of time residing in the country involved, 2 cases emerge:

  • Foreign nationals who have been residing legally in the country for a continuous period of 5 years as of the date of March 29, 2019:

The latter shall file a request for the long-term residency status and be eligible for the same benefits as the citizens of the country in question, unrestrictedly, as long as such foreign nationals have resided continuously for 5 years before applying.

  • Foreign nationals who have been residing for less than 5 years in the country as of the date of March 29, 2019:

The latter shall file a request for the provisional residency status in order to be able to stay and fulfill the 5 years’ residency criterion. They will then be able to apply for the long-term residency. It is necessary to have lived 6 continuous months before applying for the provisional residency.

Any projects? We stand alongside you in order to facilitate the mobility of your employees to France or to any other country.