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Curing Brexit anxiety and confusion - Julia Onslow-Cole from Fragomen advises

In recent times there has never been so much uncertainty for business. As things stand the UK will exit the EU on 29th March and there is still a reasonable likelihood of the UK leaving the EU without a deal. There are several key unanswered questions for Business in a " no deal " scenario. The questions concern trade and borders, tax, regulation and contracts, data and of course people. Many businesses have done little detailed Brexit planning needing to devote themselves to business as usual and unsure about what planning they should embark on, given the ever changing landscape.

The Home Office should be applauded for the work that it has done since the Brexit Referendum on the EU Settlement Scheme. Not only is there now a Scheme to register EU citizens in the UK but it is one which, on the whole, employs the latest technology effectively. It is obviously a shame that the Scheme's app is currently confined to Android devices, but apart from this, the way in which the application process draws down information from other Government departments and can be done wholly on line, within a short time frame, is a major step forward. So too is the digital records it creates which make it easier for employers in the future to see enough information to carry out ‘right to work checks’ and helps individuals keep their core data private. However, outside the details of the EU Settlement Scheme a host of people related Brexit queries are hanging in the air.

The much debated Withdrawal Agreement will, if implemented, set out clearly the framework for EU citizens pre and post Brexit and during the transition period. However, the UK Government's recent guidance for a " no deal " scenario and the flurry of differing national positions put forward by a number of European countries has caused much confusion and anxiety, not only for individuals affected but employers. There are also many questions about short term trips including business travellers .

Even if agreement is reached on the Withdrawal Agreement there remains the question of the new Immigration system post transition and in that regard the White Paper has laid bare the difficult issues that need to be debated over the next 12 months about how employers will fill the vacuum that is currently filled by EU workers. On top of these immigration issues there are several key employment issues for business to consider. In particular what will the employment law landscape look like post Brexit? What will change and what can employers do to formulate and deliver a robust workforce recruitment and skills strategy?

The BFI Conference on 26th February will deal with these complex people issues. There will be a comprehensive overview of immigration and employment strategies in the face of Brexit . Whilst we cannot predict the future the experienced speakers will advise on an optimum way forward in these difficult times.