On 23 June 2016 the UK voted in the EU Referendum to leave the European Union (EU). A majority of the population voted to Leave, rather than Remain, triggering the start of preparations for the UK withdrawing from the bloc.
The Prime Minister used the 2016 Queen’s Speech to reiterate the government’s commitment towards protecting and enhancing worker rights following Brexit.
Although it is not clear what amendments may be made to employment law, or when any changes will take effect, it is possible to predict that some changes will take place. However, one area that will see change is the rights of EU nationals to work in the UK.
After Britain has left the EU, expected to take place on 29 March 2019, the government will operate a pilot visa scheme for non-EU agricultural workers to avoid the risk that Brexit will lead to an agricultural labour shortage.
Under the pilot scheme, a maximum number of 2,500 non-EU workers will be entitled to a six-month visa each year. The workers will be recruited by two authorised agencies to carry out work on fruit and vegetable farms in the UK. The pilot will operate from spring 2019 until the end of 2020.
The pilot scheme does not affect the right for EU workers to move to the UK during the transition period.