BREXIT – What does the future hold for European Nationals working in the UK?

The EU Referendum result in the UK has created a plethora of uncertainty but not least for European (EEA) Nationals living and working in the UK.  Alarmingly, this uncertainty has been coupled with a sharp increase in the number of race hate incidents being reported throughout the country.

Until the UK formally leaves the EU, EEA Nationals will continue to have the right to reside and work in the UK.  Therefore, it will be unlawful for employers to refuse to recruit or continue to employ EEA Nationals.  It is also likely that EEA Nationals who already had a right of permanent residence in the UK before Brexit will be allowed to remain.  However, it is less clear what provisions will be made for EEA Nationals who have not acquired a right of permanent residence by the time the UK leaves the EU or what restrictions will be placed on ‘new’ EEA Nationals coming to the UK before the UK’s departure is finalised.

Like all other workers in the UK, EEA Nationals have the right to:

  • work in an environment which is free from bullying and harassment;
  • complain about unfair treatment at work without being victimised;
  • not be discriminated against;
  • work in an environment which complies with health and safety law.

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) Chair, David Issac, has published an open letter to employers this month encouraging them to take a leading role in challenging intolerance towards EEA Nationals in the UK workplaces.  The EHRC has published materials which can be displayed and distributed to EEA staff within the workplace about sources of help, advice and support in respect of these matters.

Please see the link below to these materials:

https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/what-to-do-if-youre-worried-about-racism-eu-referendum-factsheet.pdf