From time to time, we have been providing updates on the progress of negotiations relating to our departure from the EU. It’s worth noting that a significant proportion of our employment laws (as well as our approach to business immigration) derives from our membership of the EU. So the terms on which we leave the EU will be very important to all businesses, especially those with an international dimension!
With this in mind, we have been paying particular attention to recent guidance issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS), which seeks to provide information on what might happen if we end up leaving the EU without a deal. Despite protestations to the contrary, the likelihood of a ‘no deal’ Brexit appears to be increasing and the uncertainty this creates is significant.
In broad terms, the guidance seeks to reassure business and individuals that most laws derived from EU directives are fully implemented into English law and will continue to apply after Brexit. So far, so good. However, the guidance is all but silent on the more fundamental question of whether EU citizens will be able to continue to live and work here in the UK and whether UK citizens will be able to remain in other EU counties.
When interviewed by the BBC, Dominic Raab (the Brexit Secretary) indicated that he thought it ‘inconceivable’ that EU citizens (3.8m of them) would have to leave the UK as a result of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. However, he would not be drawn on the details of how this issue would be resolved. Nor was he in any position to provide any reassurance to those UK citizens working in the rest of the EU.
All in all, these guidance notes offer up at least as many questions as they do answers. So, for now, we may just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope that a clearer picture begins to emerge over the next few weeks and months, providing British business with the certainty it wants and deserves.