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Brexit implications


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.

The date when the UK is expected to leave the EU (originally the 29 March 2019) was delayed to 31 October 2019. However, this was since delayed again until 31 January 2020, and, on this date, the UK officially left the EU.

Although a withdrawal agreement was successfully negotiated and passed by both the UK and EU Parliament, a transition period is now in place until December 2020 to work out future trade agreements with the EU. Although an extension of this period could potentially happen if necessary, Prime Minister Boris Johnson affirmed in the 2019 General Election that no further extensions to the Brexit process would occur.

Recent developments

New training materials on future immigration law

HR-inform is pleased to provide dedicated training materials that can be used by organisations to get their staff, and/or managers, up to date on upcoming developments to immigration law. The slides can be re-purposed to suit any organisation and can be accessed by clicking here

New Regulations concerning EU case law

The government has laid new Regulations before Parliament concerning the ability of UK courts to depart from retained EU case law.  These Regulations - The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Relevant Court) (Retained EU Case Law) Regulations 2020 - would come into force at the end of the Brexit transition period if approved by Parliament. 

The Regulations will:

  • extend the power to depart from any retained EU case law to the Court of Appeal and equivalent courts across the UK (such as the Inner House of the Court of Session in Scotland) – previously it was thought only the Supreme Court would have this power
  • require these courts, when deciding whether to depart from any retained EU case law, to apply the same test that the Supreme Court would apply in deciding whether to depart from its own case law; and
  • clarify that the doctrine of precedent between decisions of UK courts continues to apply in the usual way (including where another court departs from or applies retained EU case law). 

This change has caused concern because the fear is it will lead to departures from retained EU case law on a more regular basis, introducing uncertainty into a number of areas of law. 

Further details released around future immigration

On 13 July 2020, the government unveiled a new 130-page document outlining more details on how immigration will work from January 2021. It confirmed that there will be three routes in which those seeking to come and work in the UK will be able to do so:

  • Skilled worker route
  • Global Talent Visa
  • Start-up and Innovator route.

For more information, please refer to our article

Brexit and the coronavirus

It has not currently been confirmed if the 2020 coronavirus outbreak will serve to delay the Brexit transitional period, which is set to end on December 31 2020. he government have stated that they remain committed to continuing with Brexit as planned and negotiations are ongoing. 

Brexit delay

Originally scheduled for 29 March 2019, this date the UK was to officially leave the EU was delayed to 31 October 2019 and was delayed again until 31 January 2020. On this date, the UK left the EU.

Right to work checks will remain the same after Brexit

Until 1 January 2021, the Home Office has confirmed that right to work checks on EU and EEA nationals will continue as normal, under the processes laid out within the prevention of illegal working guidance published in January 2019.

There will be no requirement on organisations to differentiate between those citizens who were resident in the UK before, or after, the date of the exit. Instead, the normal documentary or online right to work checks can be carried out (for more information, see our employment law pages on foreign nationals).