European Workers in Britain: Do They Need More Rights?

Since the Brexit vote was announced, European workers in Britain were left wondering how it would impact their lives. With lower skilled workers no longer accepted into the country, there has been a lot of worry over how certain sectors will survive.

There is no doubt Brexit has had a tough impact on European workers. Here, we’ll look at the challenges European businesses and workers face within the UK throughout and post Brexit.

What are the rights of European workers in the UK?

For existing European workers in the UK, the plan is to allow them to still be able to live in the country as they do now. This also includes ensuring they have the same level of access to healthcare, education and pensions. Current regulations allow anyone who is a UK resident to auto-enrol on a pension scheme – there are no regulations based on nationality.

No European workers who were in the UK before the cut off date, will be required to leave. This has provided some much-needed relief to existing workers who worried they would be deported. If the workers have been in the country for five years, they will be able to remain indefinitely by securing a settled status. They will also be able to apply for British citizenship if they want to.

One thing all European workers living in the UK will need to do no matter how long they’ve been here, is to apply for permission to stay. This needs to be done via the Home Office. There is currently a two-year grace period which gives workers the time to seek permission to stay.

How much of a contribution to the economy do European businesses make?

As of 2019, there was said to be around 2.38 million EU nationals working within the UK. While it is a common misconception that EU workers and other immigrants in the country take away from the economy, it was reported in 2018 that they actually contribute more towards it. On average, each immigrant worker brings in £2,370 more towards the Treasury than UK workers.

Before Brexit, The UK was classed as the number one choice for European business headquarters. It provided easy trade and excellent market opportunities. However, since Brexit a lot of European businesses have considered pulling out of the UK due to the changing immigration and trade laws.

There is no denying Brexit has had an impact on the UK’s economy due to European businesses moving their headquarters and reducing their dealings in the country.

What challenges do European businesses face?

For European businesses who do want to stay within the UK, there are some real challenges faced. The most pressing concern they have is how their European workers will be impacted by the Brexit changes. This has led many to seek the help of immigration lawyers. Of course, there are also issues with trade and getting the goods they need from the EU at an affordable rate.

As you can see, Brexit has had an impact on European workers in the UK. For those who have been in the UK five years or more, their rights are protected. However, for those who haven’t been here that long, it is a worrying and challenging time and most know they will not be able to afford a London apartment.

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