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When sending employees to Europe after departing the EU without a deal, the main areas of concern are social security, healthcare access, passport requirements and immigration rules.
The most important thing to remember is that after a no-deal Brexit, employers sending UK employees into the EU will then need to consider 27 member states’ rules individually rather than dealing with just one regulatory regime.
In a no-deal outcome, EU countries will have the ability to insist that British passports are valid for at least six months from the date of travel and are less than ten years old.
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, UK employees are not likely to be able to rely on freedom of movement within the EU. For business travellers, each individual EU member state will have its own list of business activities which do not require work permits or immigration applications. Going forward, it is important that each business traveller is well-versed in the specific requirements of their host country.
In summary, employers are advised to act now to understand which of their employees will be affected by a no-deal Brexit. Businesses should ensure that all employees have A1s in place for current assignments. Employees should be on alert for possible changes, including increased costs. Good communication and support are vital going forward.
The UK government has opted to fund healthcare benefits for six months for UK nationals living in the EU after Brexit who continue to pay UK social security. However, for business or leisure travellers to Europe there will be no guarantee of free access to healthcare coverage for any trips commencing after 1 November if the UK leaves without a deal.
The UK hopes to hold on to existing arrangements that allow employees seconded to Europe to just pay into one social security system on a lateral basis. However, this will be a decision for each individual member state to consider.
Currently, UK employees sent to Europe to work are able to hold on to UK social security contributions with an A1 form. This is beneficial as it helps maintain their contribution record for UK state pension purposes and saves them having to pay towards other, often more costly, social security contributions in their host countries.
In a no-deal outcome, HMRC has warned all UK employees holding an A1 that they may no longer be exempt from contributing towards social security in the country they are seconded to. These additional social security contributions could be up to 14% for employee and 45% for employer.
This article has been produced for general information purposes and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor. Please contact our CFR HR Team at Cleaver Fulton Rankin for further advice or information.