GOD SAVE THE EXPATS – avoid labor issues after Brexit Day on March 29th
The UK and the European Union have been reassuring on the issues regarding immigration status, social security, pensions, etc.
The Brexit Treaty, after having been ratified by the European Parliament, was massively rejected by the UK Parliament on 15 January 2019.
Although UK nationals are being told they could be given better treatment than other third country nationals, uncertainty still prevails.
In reaction to the rejection of the Brexit Treaty by the UK Parliament, France enacted legislation on 19 January 2019 (law n° 2019-30, published on 20 January 2019) to avoid having UK nationals in France suddenly find themselves with irregular status. This bill enables the government to take measures by decree to prepare for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union and manage the consequences.
However, during the Brexit treaty negotiations, France was seeking a “reciprocal” arrangement whereby expatriates in France and the UK would be treated equally, and is now waiting to see what the UK will protect French nationals in the UK before it issues any reciprocal protection.
In consequence, until a decree is published and/or a bi-lateral agreement is signed with France, UK nationals will be treated as non-EU aliens post-Brexit. British nationals with employment contracts under French law with an employer in France will be required to obtain a permit equivalent to a work permit in France, as provided for in the regulations on the employment of foreigners in the Labor Code.
The French Administration has encouraged UK nationals in France to apply for a Carte de Séjour residency permit as soon as possible (a Carte de Séjour constitutes a Work permit).
On an operational standpoint, we could only advise HRs to anticipate Brexit Day on March 29th and check that all UK nationals employed within the company have filed for a Carte de Séjour, enabling him/her to work in France.
Once post-Brexit, failure for the company to take action regarding the “illegal” UK nationals, the employer could be held criminally and civilly liable for concealed work. These liabilities can be easily avoided when the issue is anticipated.
In a nutshell our advice is: if you have not anticipated the Brexit issue, make sure to react in accordance!