Date Published: 23-05-2016

In exactly a month, on 23rd June 2016, a UK-wide referendum will be held to allow the people of Great Britain to decide whether or not we stay as a member of the EU.

Currently there is a load of uncertainty around speculation, and what will or won’t happen, and even so under EU law it could take around 2 years for anything to change but it’s something that as recruiters, we need to think about.

Currently in the UK, it is estimated that we have 1.6 million non-British EU nationals living and working in the UK, a staggering amount. Nationals of EU countries currently have the right to live and work in almost any other EU member state, visa-free, which gives candidates freedom with regards to where their careers takes them.

When moving outside of the EU, however, things get a little more difficult than simply registering to pay tax in the country you move to. Candidates have to go through a long, vigorous and expensive visa application process before any decision has been made as to whether they are able to work in said country. Usually this will involve proof that you have work lined up, personal character sponsors and proof that you have the funds to get yourself set up in your new country.

An employer wishing to employ a non-EU citizen has to pay for a sponsorship certificate and supply an explanation as to why the given job cannot be done by a British citizen. This certificate will then allow the candidate to apply for a working visa.

For the non-British Nationals that are currently living and working in the UK, thankfully it’s highly unlikely if at all feasible that they’ll get asked to leave the UK given how much they are contributing to the UK economy. It’s more likely that they’ll automatically be granted Indefinite Leave to Remain in the same way that current non-EU citizens are able to stay in the UK after living and working here for a set period of time, but it is unlikely that they will be required to pass the life in the United Kingdom test as it would cost the UK tax payer too much money, on such a large scale.

There is of course the alternative option like Norway have, to become part of the European Economic Area which allows freedom of movement and trade within Europe, but without being a part of the EU.

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