The Freight Transport Association has pointed out that there is no system in place that ensures that checks are carried out to check the right of work of EU national employees and that this therefore falls into the hands of the industry to avoid prosecution and removal of illegal workers.
This follows on from evidence presented by minister of state for immigration Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP that logistics businesses are to check the right to work of their EU National employees both during the transition period and after Brexit.
“It is simply unacceptable that, with only five months to go until the UK is set to leave the EU, there is still no viable system in place which can provide employers with the information they need over workers’ status,” said FTA head of skills Sally Gilson.
“Despite asking for clarification on this issue since Article 50 was triggered,” she continued, “it seems incredible that the government has let the clock run down to this point without giving business the answers it has been requesting. Asking employers to prove the right to work status of their workforce, despite assurances in the summer that this would not be needed, is simply unacceptable.”
Gilson explained that this is “a massive burden on employers who despite assurances in the summer to the contrary, will be expected to check the right to work status.”
And following on from assurances from the Home Office in the summer, the FTA has been reassuring members that they will not be expected to check right to work for EU citizens, and to now “hear that employers will have to make these checks, however the Government doesn’t yet know how employers will be able to do so. The whole situation is shocking and almost farcical,” stated Gilson. “We are now less than five months from Brexit and employers will effectively be asked to check right to work for employees without a mechanism to do so.”
She emphasised that “imperative for the continued efficiency of the UK’s supply chain that the logistics industry can not only retain the workers we have, but continue to access them during the transition period as the UK leaves the EU. Any issues around the right to work in the UK have to be resolved now – otherwise employers could easily deem EU nationals too risky to employ. The logistics sector is committed to Keeping Britain Trading – without the workers to do this, business could grind to a halt,” concluded Gilson.