The following alert is directed to organizations with a
presence in the UK or who anticipate the need to place talent at a
UK work site.
Seyfarth Shaw's Global Mobility and International
Employment Law Practices host attorneys licensed to practice in the
UK, Canada, Australia, China, Ireland, Germany, and France. These
groups have assisted clients in more than 150 jurisdictions
around the world. If we can assist you in international
employment or immigration matters, please call your usual Seyfarth
contact attorney. We will be happy to help you.
Seyfarth Synopsis:The UK
Parliament has passed the EU Withdrawal Bill, paving the way for
the Government to invoke Article 50, the mechanism for leaving the
European Union, by the end of March 2017.
On March 13, 2017, the UK Parliament passed the European Union
(Notification of Withdrawal) Bill. The Bill's purpose is
to allow the Prime Minister to notify the European Union of the
United Kingdom's intention to withdraw from the European Union,
through invocation of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.
The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, has previously
indicated that she wishes to make the notification, triggering such
withdrawal, before the end of March 2017. The passing of this
Bill now makes such a timetable likely.
What Will Happen Next?
Once Article 50 has been invoked, the United Kingdom will enter
into a period of negotiation with the European Union. The
parties have a period of two years to negotiate an exit agreement
for the UK. If no agreement has been reached by the end of
the two year period, all EU Treaties that apply to the UK will be
void, unless the European Council (comprised of the Heads of all
Member States) agrees to continue the negotiations.
How Will This Decision Affect UK Employment and Immigration
At this stage, the rights of all EU nationals and their family
members to reside and work in the UK remain unchanged.
However, the attempt by some members of the House of Lords to
insert a provision to protect the residence rights of EU citizens
already living in the UK into the Withdrawal Bill was
rejected. Therefore, the current legislation does not make
any guarantees regarding the future status of this group of EU
citizens. It is likely that this issue, as well as the rights
of British citizens residing in other areas of the EU, will be one
of the key considerations during the negotiation period. The
position regarding employment laws is uncertain. Many
employment protections stem from European Directives—but much
has been said lately about the UK becoming a lighter tax
jurisdiction in order to attract investment, if a deal with the EU
is not achieved. Typically, tax haven jurisdictions are "light
touch" in employment law terms, so the political difficulties
of eroding current levels of employee protection may run counter to
the economic realities of the UK's trading position.
We recommend that all EU nationals currently living in the UK
apply for a residence card to confirm their status. Likewise,
any British citizens living elsewhere in the EU should ensure they
have the equivalent documentation which confirms their
rights. They may also wish to consider applying for dual
nationality to protect their rights to reside in the UK on a
permanent basis. Much remains to be seen in relation to the
evolution of British employment laws.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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