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Legalbrief   |   your legal news hub Tuesday 20 August 2019

UK employers must ensure EU citizens' right to work

A UK Government Minister has said the onus would be on employers to ensure that EU citizens have the right to work in the UK after the withdrawal from the EU in March next year. reports that giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee, Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said employers would have to carry out checks from March next year to make sure EU citizens applying for jobs had the right to work and had been granted ‘settled status’ in the UK. Nokes said the government would have to ‘turn on a system that allows EU citizens to continue to come here post-March until such time as the new immigration system is implemented’, when free movement was ended after Brexit. That meant employers would need to carry out rigorous checks to prove an individual’s right to work. The report says the settlement scheme for EU citizens will give them the right to remain in the UK.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Business in the Community (BITC) are, meanwhile, calling on firms to recognise that hiring refugees is not just an act of philanthropy but mutually beneficial. HR Magazine reports that in 2017, the number of refugees grew by 10% to 25.4m worldwide – the biggest jump in a single year, according to the UNHCR, and the highest number of displaced people since the Second World War. More than half (57%) come from three countries: South Sudan, Syria and Afghanistan. The report says BITC and the UNHCR are working together on a guide and workshop for employers looking to hire refugees, launching in the new year. Tim Naor Hilton, head of services and good practices at Refugee Action, highlighted that refugees could add an extra £40m to the UK economy, but also that immigration laws posed a barrier.