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Are your HR systems ready for Brexit?

Are your HR systems ready for Brexit?

No more Brexit delays. This is what you need to consider.



KPMG in the UK


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Retaining talent

All EU nationals living in the UK before Brexit (or the end of the transition on 31 December 2020, if the withdrawal agreement is approved) will be able to remain in the UK.

Despite this, the Office for National Statistics reports a steady decline of EU migration since 2016, dropping to its lowest level for 10 years.

To protect their rights, EU nationals and their family members must apply for an immigration permission under the new EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). Depending their personal circumstances and access to technology, they can apply:

  • Online via app;
  • by post; or
  • in person.

For UK employers, the key challenge is communicating both these messages so staff remain working in the UK and in compliance with UK immigration law. The Government has produced guidance on these matters.

KPMG’s Brexit Immigration Online can be used as a part of the strategy to communicate changes and step to secure future of your staff members. You should think about whether there are other steps your organisation should take to secure the status of your staff.

Right to work

Even without Brexit, right to work checks are notoriously difficult for business to get right.

Most organisations rely on a combination of physical checks on documents and storing the data in a repository.

Challenges can arise when the rules change on what should be checked and what should be stored.

The loss of free movement rights for EU nationals and introduction of the EUSS raises both these issues.

First, when free movement rights end, an EU passport or ID card may stop being acceptable evidence of right to work.

Second, checks on registration under the EUSS are not on physical documents - they are performed using an online portal and the online output should be retained.

Although there are no details of how right to work legislation will change, you can prepare for when this happens.

Two useful steps are:

  • Ensuring you understand the process and identifying what will need to change to allow online verifications and their storage; and
  • Planning how you can implement such changes, including updating guidance and training.

KPMG is helping organisations prepare by using the KPMG Right to Work App.

This allows right to work checks to be undertaken on a tablet or smartphone.

It incorporates logic on what documents can be accepted so that staff performing the checks do not need to know the rules, just how to use the app.

We update the system when the rules change, so that our clients remain compliant, without changing their processes or further training to staff.

Obtaining visas

After free movement ends, you may still want to hire new migrants from the EU or elsewhere, and will probably need to help them get visas to do so.

The current system for sponsoring work visas, known as ‘Tier 2’, requires businesses to apply to the Home Office for a sponsor licence and then go through specific processes for each individual visa.

To get the licence, the business needs to show sufficiently robust HR systems to track and monitor right to work and sponsored migrants.

The immigration system is likely to change after Brexit, but the emphasis on having a job offer is likely to remain.

The sponsorship system underpinning Tier 2 may well survive any changes as a result.

Organisations with an eye on the future may want to look at preparing to obtain a Sponsor Licence now for such future recruitment.

Brexit presents many challenges for businesses. Those that prepare best will have a competitive advantage in the talent market. If you would like to discuss any of these issues please contact your usual contact or

Webinar: Immigration, Brexit and the Conservative majority

KPMG’s immigration team will deep dive into these three key preparation areas in our next Employers’ Club webinar at 12 – 1pm GMT on 16 January 2020. Register here

© 2021 KPMG LLP a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG global organisation of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee. All rights reserved.

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