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Why recruiters & workers will see red on Brexit

While the Brexit deal created some welcome certainty for UK businesses, recruiters and candidates will have more red tape to cut through.

“The compromise on equivalence which leaves the UK free to set its own standards in areas such as labour law, means we can, in a limited way, diverge from EU regulation,” said Tania Bowers, Legal Counsel and Head of Public Policy at APSCo. “The Agency Worker Regulations (AWR) is an example of one EU regulation that the professional recruitment sector sees as red tape and would like reviewed.

“The fact that there will no longer be mutual recognition of professional qualifications is likely to impact professionals wanting to work in other EU countries, as they will now have to apply to each member state to have their qualifications recognised. This will apply to all professions such as accountancy, law and medicine and may well impact professional services recruiters and professional contractors.”

A separate ‘adequacy agreement’ will provide more detail on the flow personal data. “If granted it means that the EU will recognise UK data protection standards as equivalent to its own – a major issue for the recruitment sector which relies on the free flow of personal data,” said Bowers. “However, we understand that the EU has agreed for the flow of personal data to continue as it does currently for a period of four months.”

Right to work

The UK’s departure from the European Union will create some significant challenges for organisations whose workforces include non-British nationals.

“Having been accustomed to operating freely across the EU/EEA, a candidate’s nationality (providing they are an EU/EEA citizen) didn’t need to be considered when hiring - it was all about the best person for the job,” said Kathryn Barnes, Employment Counsel EMEA at Globalization Partners. “But things have changed as of January 1st 2021. This will impact not only non-British employees working in the UK, but also very likely British nationals working in the European Union will be affected. Latest figures show that there are 1.3 million UK nationals living in EU countries - that’s a significant administrative burden for firms to tackle.”

Employers and employees have been given a six month grace period up to June 30th 2021 to get their paperwork in order. It is likely that right to work checks will be carried out and EU citizens will need to satisfy the requirements - but more clarity is needed.

“For those non-UK based companies struggling to navigate Brexit’s choppy waters, who can’t go down the points-based route to retain or hire talent in the UK, an Employer of Record (EOR) could be a port in the storm,” adds Barnes. “It can also help employers manage hiring in EU/EEC countries without the need for relocation into the UK or without the Company having to set up in other EU/EEC countries. Ultimately an EOR can help firms keep hold of their most important asset - their people.”

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