It was announced on 26th June 2017 that EU citizens living in Britain, post-Brexit will be given the opportunity to achieve ‘settled status’. Essentially this will mean that EU citizens will have the same rights as UK citizens in terms of residency, employment, health, welfare and pensions, provided they have lived in the UK for five years or more.
For contractors and agencies this is a relatively positive step forward following a period of uncertainty for those EU nationals working as contractors and the agencies recruiting talent from the EU, following the yes vote for Brexit.
Prior to this announcement there were worries amongst the recruitment industry and contractors that EU talent would be lost, which would have had a significant impact on the UK economy. But there are still many things left unclear following Theresa May’s announcement, particularly those working on short terms contracts, such as seasonal agricultural workers that may be absent from the UK for periods of time. And then there is the issue of EU citizens working within the UK wanting to bring their family over, to which Brexit may present road blocks.
Although a step in the right direction, the coming months should hopefully shed some light on exactly how Brexit and settled status will affect contractors and the agencies that work with them; in the meantime agencies are encouraging the government to see the true benefits that EU workers have on the UK economy and keep these benefits in mind as they progress Brexit negotiations.