Jayne Hart Director HR Dept Newcastle
Jayne Hart, Director of HR Dept Newcastle
Jayne Hart

Member Article

How will Brexit affect North East SMEs from 1 January 2021?

  • Brexit is finally upon us and some local businesses will be affected immediately.
  • One of the biggest changes concerns recruitment and retention of overseas nationals, where a new points-based immigration system is coming in.
  • There are a number of government resources to support businesses and we can provide expert advice.

With our transition period for leaving the EU ending on 31 December, many businesses will be affected by new rules relating to employment law. From recruitment to tribunals, and not forgetting data protection, it would be wise for SMEs to get up to speed with the changes, so they can take advantage of the opportunity and avoid the pitfalls. Jayne Hart from The HR Dept Newcastle highlights some of the issues.

Jayne begins: “Probably the most urgent issue is if you currently employ EU, EEA or Swiss nationals, or a family member of an eligible person from Northern Ireland. They can stay in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme. As long as they are in the UK by the end of December, a period of grace is offered to them to apply to the scheme by 30 June 2021. While they are responsible for applying, you bear responsibility for employing eligible people. So good communication with affected staff is advised.

“Then, of course, there is the small matter of recruiting overseas nationals. Whereas previously, EU nationals had preferential access to the UK labour market, now there is a points-based immigration system for all overseas nationals. This is based on a range of characteristics, including salary level and qualifications.

“Crucially, for businesses who need to look overseas, there are sponsoring licences which need to be applied for from the government. These take several weeks to finalise; so depending on timescales North East businesses may need to act now. There is a new government portal to check whether a recruit has a right to work in the UK. Until June though, employers can still accept passports and national identity cards from EU nationals as proof.

“Away from recruitment, it is worth flagging that employment tribunals will no longer have to refer to European case law in their judgments; and that new UK employment legislation will no longer be made with reference to the EU by default.

“One final point. Although European in origin, GDPR (data protection) law will still effectively apply after we have left the EU, and it is thought it will be rolled into our own law. While businesses should already be compliant, it makes now a good time to conduct an audit and make sure that data is being processed properly.”

This is just a summary of some of the main issues. Businesses seeking more detailed information should obtain expert advice.

For enquiries, please contact Jayne Hart from The HR Dept Newcastle, at jayne.hart@hrdept.co.uk or on 0191 594 7789.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Jayne Hart .

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