Fairness als neue Arbeitgeberpflicht

Arbeitgeber sehen sich in Deutschland mit einer neuen Rechtspflicht konfrontiert: Laut Bundesarbeitsgericht müssen Verträge mit Arbeitnehmern „fair verhandelt“ werden, um wirksam zu sein.

Im entschiedenen Fall hatte eine Reinigungskraft in ihrer Privatwohnung einen Aufhebungsvertrag mit ihrem Arbeitgeber abgeschlossen – darin wurde die sofortige Beendigung ihres Arbeitsverhältnisses ohne Zahlung einer Abfindung vereinbart. Im Nachhinein focht die Arbeitnehmerin den Vertrag wegen Irrtums, arglistiger Täuschung und widerrechtlicher Drohung an und widerrief ihn hilfsweise zusätzlich. Sie gab an, an dem Tag krank gewesen zu sein und den Vertrag unter Druck unterzeichnet zu haben. Tatsächlich hielt die Vereinbarung vor dem Bundesarbeitsgericht nicht (Az.: 6 AZR 75/18).

Zwar verwarfen die Richter in ihrer Entscheidung sämtliche Argumente der Klägerin – weder habe sie Widerrufsrecht, weil der Vertrag außerhalb der Geschäftsräume des Arbeitgebers geschlossen worden sei, noch habe ein Grund zur Anfechtung des Vertrages bestanden. Dadurch erhalten Arbeitgeber nun die Sicherheit, dass in arbeitsrechtliche Verträge kein Haustürgeschäft hineininterpretiert werden könne. Gleichwohl, so das Bundesarbeitsgericht weiter, sei der Vertrag voraussichtlich nicht wirksam. Die Vorinstanz müsse prüfen, ob beim Abschluss des Aufhebungsvertrags „das Gebot fairen Verhandelns“ beachtet worden sei.

Mit der Entscheidung haben die Erfurter Richter eine neue Möglichkeit geschaffen, arbeitsrechtliche Verträge in Frage zu stellen. Die Pflicht zu fairem Verhandeln wurde im Arbeitsrecht bislang noch nie zur Begründung herangezogen. Durch die neue Argumentation wird ein – zwangsläufig subjektives – Fairness-Empfinden zum Gradmesser für die Wirksamkeit eines Vertragsabschlusses.

Schon bisher konnte das Ausnutzen einer psychischen Drucksituation einen Vertrag angreifbar machen – aber nur, wenn es dabei zu einer widerrechtlichen Drohung kam, die im vorliegenden Fall jedoch gerade verneint wurde. Mit seiner Entscheidung geht das Bundesarbeitsgericht über das bisherige Verbot unzulässiger Verhaltensweisen hinaus und fordert für die Wirksamkeit von Verträgen nun die aktive Einhaltung des Gebots fairen Verhandelns.

Ein solches allgemeines Fairnessgebot führt zu erheblicher Rechtsunsicherheit, da „Fairness“ stets eine Frage der Perspektive ist. Jeder Verhandler weiß, dass es keinen objektiven Fairness-Begriff gibt. Es muss deshalb gehofft werden, dass die – noch ausstehende – Urteilsbegründung in den Details für mehr Klarheit sorgt.

 

Generalanwalt am EuGH fordert allgemeine Arbeitszeiterfassung

Nach den Schlussanträgen des Generalanwalts am Europäischen Gerichtshof (EuGH) sollen Unternehmen künftig verpflichtet sein, ein System zur Erfassung der täglichen Arbeitszeit ihrer Mitarbeiter einzuführen (Schlussanträge v. 31.01.2019, Az. C-55/18). Die dabei gemeinte Arbeitszeit umfasst den Zeitraum der tatsächlichen Verrichtung der Arbeitsleistung ohne Ruhepausen.

Schon jetzt müssen Unternehmen aufgrund des Arbeitszeitgesetzes jede Arbeitszeit erfassen, die die regelmäßig zulässige werktägliche Arbeitszeit der Mitarbeiter von acht Stunden überschreitet oder auf Sonn- und Feiertage entfällt (§ 16 Abs. 2 Arbeitszeitgesetz); andernfalls droht eine Geldbuße von bis zu 15.000 Euro. Dagegen sind Unternehmen in Deutschland nicht generell verpflichtet, die werktägliche Arbeitszeit von acht Stunden oder weniger zu dokumentieren.

In einem aktuellen Fall des EuGH (“Federación de Servicios de Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) gegen Deutsche Bank SAE” (C‑55/18)) verlangt die spanische Gewerkschaft CCOO nun festzustellen, dass die Deutsche Bank ein generelles Arbeitszeiterfassungssystem einführen müsse, um die Überprüfung der Einhaltung der vereinbarten Arbeitszeit zu ermöglichen. Dazu verpflichte auch die Charta der Grundrechte der EU sowie die EU-Arbeitszeitrichtlinie.

Der EuGH-Generalanwalts schloss sich in seinen Schlussanträgen dieser Auffassung an und sieht eine generelle Arbeitszeiterfassung als unabdingbare Voraussetzung für die Überprüfbarkeit der Einhaltung von Arbeitszeitregeln. Nationale Rechtsvorschriften, die eine solche Verpflichtung nicht vorsehen, seien unionsrechtswidrig und dürften nicht mehr angewendet werden. Vielmehr müssten die entsprechenden Mitgliedstaaten der EU eine gesetzliche Regelung schaffen, durch die Unternehmen zur Einführung eines Systems zur Erfassung der täglichen effektiven Arbeitszeit verpflichtet werden.

Wenn der EuGH den Schlussanträgen des Generalanwalts folgt, müssen Unternehmen umfassende Arbeitszeiterfassungssysteme einführen oder bestehende Systeme so erweitern, dass die arbeitsschutzrechtliche Arbeitszeit umfassend dokumentiert wird. Ein etwaig existierender Betriebsrat ist hierbei zu beteiligen.

La nouvelle Loi sur l’équité salariale s’en vient

L’équité salariale occupe une place importante dans l’actualité québécoise et canadienne depuis plusieurs mois. En effet, une importante saga judiciaire s’est terminée en mai 2018 lorsque la Cour suprême a décidé qu’une loi sur l’équité salariale, adoptée par une législature provinciale ou fédérale, ne pouvait refuser aux femmes l’accès à des ajustements rétroactifs en cas de discrimination salariale. Du coup, certaines dispositions de la Loi sur l’équité salariale (LÉS) québécoise étaient déclarées inconstitutionnelles.

Comme d’habitude en pareilles circonstances, le législateur québécois a été invité à retourner sur la planche à dessin et à proposer une nouvelle mouture de la LÉS qui tienne compte des paramètres dorénavant imposés par le plus haut tribunal au pays. C’est ainsi que le Ministre du travail, de l’emploi et de la Solidarité sociale du Québec a déposé, en date du 12 février 2019, le Projet de loi 10 « Loi modifiant la Loi sur l’équité salariale afin principalement d’améliorer l’évaluation du maintien de l’équité salariale ».

Essentiellement, le projet de loi vise à modifier la date à compter de laquelle les ajustements déterminés à la suite d’une évaluation du maintien de l’équité salariale sont dus. Pour ce faire, on prévoit que chaque ajustement sera dû à compter de la date de l’événement l’ayant généré et on précise les modalités de versement des ajustements.

Par ailleurs, le processus de traitement des plaintes est également modifié et de nouvelles obligations d’assistance aux salarié(e)s sont imposées à la CNESST.

L’adoption de ce Projet de loi est imminente : la date butoir imposée par la Cour suprême tombe le 10 mai 2019. Les employeurs québécois ont donc tout intérêt à se préparer en conséquence. L’exécution d’un exercice « informel » d’équité salariale, dans le but de déterminer l’exposition de votre organisation à un quelconque risque financier en lien avec des ajustements salariaux, pourrait s’avérer utile afin d’éviter de mauvaises surprises. À cet égard, notons que les impacts financiers appréhendés du Projet de loi se chiffrent, selon certains, à plus ou moins 565,6 millions !

Quoi qu’il en soit, nous suivrons le cheminement du Projet de loi 10 avec intérêt et nous vous tiendrons au courant de tout développement important.

New York State and New York City employers face new compliance requirements

Recently, New York State and New York City have continued the trend of enacting employee-friendly legislation and issuing broad enforcement guidance under their respective employment laws and regulations.  New York State and New York City employers should be aware of the following recent developments from 2018 and early 2019, and should take action to review and update their practices and policies for compliance.

New York City lactation room and policy laws — new policy requirement

Federal and New York State laws already require employers to make reasonable efforts to provide a room other than a bathroom where a nursing employee can express breast milk in privacy.  New York City recently passed two laws expanding those rights.  Effective March 18, 2019, New York City employers will be subject to additional specific requirements regarding the lactation room that must be made available to nursing mothers.  New York State law already requires that the lactation room be private, well-lit, and contain, at a minimum, a chair and small table, desk, counter, or other flat surface.  The New York City law will require additional amenities in the lactation room, including an electrical outlet and nearby access to running water, and that the employer provide a refrigerator suitable for breast milk storage in reasonable proximity to the employee’s work area.  Also effective March 18, 2019, New York City employers will be required to implement a written lactation room policy that meets specified requirements, and provide a copy of the policy to all employees upon hiring.  The policy must include a statement that employees have the right to request a lactation room, and identify a process by which employees may make such request (which process must meet certain minimum requirements).

“Cooperative Dialogue” amendments to New York City Human Rights Law

Effective October 15, 2018, New York City amended its Human Rights Law to require covered employers to engage in a “cooperative dialogue” with individuals who may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation related to religious beliefs, disability, pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition, or because the employee was a victim of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking.  The law requires that covered employers follow certain procedures when they receive a request for an accommodation, or when they have notice that an individual may need an accommodation, including the following: Continue reading

The beginning of a revolution (by the French lower courts) ?

French President Emmanuel Macron implemented a significant reform of the French employment code in late 2017, with the intention of providing employers greater flexibility and predictability in managing labour relations.

One of the most controversial measures was the creation of a grid applicable to the amount of indemnities due to employees for unfair dismissal, setting minima and maxima as a function of the length of service of the employee and the headcount of the employing entity.

Prior to the adoption of the grid, courts were free to determine the amount of damages payable to unfairly dismissed employees based on the loss suffered by the employee (with a minimum of 6 months’ salary for employees with at least two years of service in a company employing at least 11 employees and no cap).  Under the new system, French courts are required to determine the amount of damages based on the loss suffered, but taking into account both a floor and a ceiling (which is fixed at 20 months’ salary for employees with at least 30 years of service).

At the time of the reform, a number of voices were raised against this measure, and some employees’ lawyers continue to challenge the validity of t provision of the French employment code, arguing that the grid is incompatible with Convention no. 158 of the ILO (International Labour Organisation) and the European Social Charter.

Article 10 of Convention no. 158 of the ILO provides that if the courts “find that termination is unjustified and if they are not empowered or do not find it practicable, in accordance with national law and practice, to declare the termination invalid and/or order or propose reinstatement of the worker, they shall be empowered to order payment of adequate compensation or such other relief as may be deemed appropriate”.

Similarly, Article 24 of the European Social Charter provides that the parties thereto undertake to recognize “the right of workers whose employment is terminated without a valid reason to adequate compensation or other appropriate relief”.

Consequently, employees’ lawyers have claimed that the dismissal indemnity grid could fail to provide sufficient (or total) reparation of the loss suffered by the employee, in breach of such international law rules acknowledged by France.

The number of published decisions to date in which such argument has been made remains limited, due to (i) the fact that the grid applies only to dismissals notified to employees after the date of the reform (late 2017), (ii) the length of proceedings before French employment tribunals, and (iii) the fact that not all employees’ lawyers have made use of such argument.

To our knowledge, only one employment tribunal (Le Mans) has published a decision rejecting such an argument by employees’ lawyers and strictly applying the new rules set forth in the French employment code.

The Caen employment tribunal, in a decision dated December 2018 and published very recently, took a more nuanced view, holding that the employee did not provide evidence of actual damages exceeding the amount to which the employee would be entitled on the basis of the amounts determined using the grid.

However, four other employment tribunals (Troyes, Amiens, Lyon and Grenoble) have ruled that the dismissal indemnity grid is in contradiction with the international undertakings of France. In these cases (all published in December 2018), the courts ordered the employing entities to pay an indemnity which the court set independently from the grid.

Needless to say, the employers will appeal against these decisions, and against any similar rulings which are likely to be issued by other lower courts. Ultimately, it will be up to the French Supreme Court to give a final say. In the meantime, the predictability promised to French employers is still limited.

No Deal arrangements for EU citizens

One of the many outstanding issues for immigration lawyers was how EU citizens would be able to enter the UK after 29 March 2019 in the event of a “no deal” scenario. Whilst a new immigration system is due to come into force in 2021, the situation remained unclear as to what would happen to any EU citizen seeking to enter the UK after the UK had left the EU in March in the event of a no deal.  On 28 January 2019, the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid set out the provisions for EU citizens coming to the UK after the EU exit.

The Home Secretary’s announcement made it clear that the freedom of movement of EU citizens would end and a new scheme would immediately be imposed. A new Immigration Bill has been introduced to cover the period following the departure from the EU but before the new skills based immigration system comes into force in January 2021.

During this transitional period EEA citizens and their family members would still be able to come to the UK to visit, work or study for a period of less than three months. If they wish to stay longer than 3 months then they will need to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain.  This will require an online application together with a payment of a fee, the level of which has yet to be announced.  It will also require the applicant to prove their identity and declare any criminal convictions.   The Temporary Leave to Remain allows the individual to stay in the UK for 36 months from the date of their application.  It does not give indefinite leave to remain or lead to status under the EU Settlement Scheme.  If they wish to stay longer than the 3 years, then they will need to make a further application under the plan for the skills based immigration system, proposals for which were published in December.  It is hoped that these transitional measures represent a practical approach which minimises disruption and ensures the UK stays open for business in the event of a no-deal.

Those citizens who are in the UK before 29 March 2019 retain the right to apply for Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme. If the Withdrawal Agreement is signed then any EU citizen arriving in the UK until December 2020 would retain this right. Whilst the Home Secretary’s announcement has provided clarity on the no deal scenario, much still remains dependant on any agreement reached before 29 March.

Settled status for EU citizens

The EU Settlement Scheme, which processes applications of EU citizens living in the UK to allow them to remain in the UK after Brexit, has gone live.

From 21 January 2019 a public test phase will run for individuals who are resident EU citizens (with a valid EU passport) or non-EU citizen family members of EU citizens (with a biometric residence card) . The Scheme will open fully on 30 March 2019.

The EU Settlement Scheme applies to EU citizens already in the UK prior to 29 March 2019, or those who enter before the end of the transition period (assuming there is one).  It allows them to apply for settled status or pre-settled status.  An individual can apply for settled status where they have lived in the UK for a continuous 5 year period  (although they can have a period of 12 months abroad for childbirth, a serious illness, study or an overseas work posting).  For those with less than 5 years continuous residence, an application can be made for pre-settled status.  If the individual stays in the UK for a further 5 years then they can make an application for settled status from that date.  Settled Status will mean the individual can continue living and working in the UK after December 2020.

The Scheme has already been rolled out on a trial basis from 28 August 2018. This involved a private phase of testing for health service trusts and universities in North West England. During that period the Home Office received 29,987 applications and 27,211 decisions were made.

The application is made by way of a smartphone app on an Android phone and initially cost £65 for those over 16 and £32.50 for children. However, the Government subsequently stated that it will be abolishing the fee for the Settlement Scheme when it is generally opened on 30 March 2019. Those who have already made their applications and paid the fee will be eligible for a refund and further details on this will follow. The process was free in any event if the citizen already has indefinite leave to remain the UK or has a valid UK permanent residence document, or for those after April 2019 who are applying to move from pre-settled status to settled status.  Whilst the app is intended to be simple to use and to include harmonising information from different government departments, such as HMRC, there is concern that vulnerable groups with limited IT skills or language skills may have difficulty applying.

Citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland are not eligible to apply during this public test phase. They will be able to apply when the scheme is fully open by 30 March 2019.

Currently the Scheme is due to operate until June 2021 from which point any such citizens will be subject to new Immigration Rules. However, definite timings may depend on whether the UK leaves the EU on a “no deal”.

More uncertainty follows the Italian Constitutional Court’s partial repeal of the Jobs Act

Thanks to the passage of the Dignity Decree by the Italian Parliament last summer and the recent decision of Italy’s Constitutional Court, the employment law regime in Italy has changed direction. The problem is that the direction it has taken is uncertain, creating concern both for employers and employees. The current situation is that parts of the Jobs Act – the major employment law reform in Italy that came into force in 2014/2015 –  have been struck down either by the new legislation or by the court decision and in certain areas a legal vacuum has been created. To fill the void, a political solution may be required.

As noted in my last Blog entry of 2018 (See Italian Constitutional Court partially repeals Jobs Act rules – What’s next? Link), the Italian Constitutional Court handed down a major decision that declared unconstitutional the compensation rules set out in the Jobs Act for claims of unlawful dismissal on the grounds that these rules were not in line with the principles of “reasonableness and equality” and that they were in conflict with the concept of “protection of work” as granted by articles 4 and 35 of the Italian Constitution.

Continue reading

What happens a firm’s internal regulations following a TUPE transfer ?

Under French employment law, the application of TUPE regulations triggers specific consequences not only with regard to an employee’s employment contract, which is transferred automatically by operation of law, but also on the employees’ collective status.

In this respect, a recent decision of the French Supreme Court has specified what happens to a company’s internal regulations (règlement intérieur) in the event of a TUPE transfer.

It should be recalled that the promulgation of internal regulations is compulsory in companies employing at least 20 employees and the purpose of such document is to cover specific topics, essentially health and safety rules, discipline and rules applicable to sexual and moral harassment.  In addition to such compulsory topics, any policies implemented internally within companies the breach of which may lead to disciplinary sanctions also requires the specific procedure of internal regulations to be followed.

Until such recent decision, in the case of a TUPE transfer, as the law was silent on the subject, a company’s internal regulations were considered as following the regime applicable more generally to any unilateral undertakings and were automatically transferred to the new employing entity.

In a recent decision of 17th October 2018, the French Supreme Court held for the first time, in a situation in which employees were transferred to a newly incorporated entity, that such entity could not apply the internal regulations of the initial employing entity and that such document was no longer enforceable against the transferred employees.  In so deciding, the Supreme Court considered that a company’s internal regulations are a document of a specific nature, i.e., a regulatory document which cannot be assimilated to other unilateral undertakings of the employer.

On this basis, the Supreme Court held that in the case of a TUPE transfer, the internal regulations do not transfer to the new employing entity and that it is up to the new employing entity to implement its own internal regulations following the transfer.

Although the Supreme Court did not deal with this topic, this decision raises the more general question of the transfer of company policies when TUPE regulations apply. Logically, it would appear to be the case that for those policies which have been implemented under the same procedure as internal regulations, the decision would also be relevant and that the new employing entity would be required to reiterate them after the transfer in order for the policies to continue to apply.  But what about other policies? Until further clarity is obtained on the issue and to be on a safe side, it may be prudent to reiterate them as well after the transfer.

The immigration white paper – what will it mean for the UK’s future immigration system?

The UK Government has now published the White Paper on the future immigration system for the UK after it leaves the EU. It has confirmed, following many of the recommendations by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), that it will adopt a new single skills-based immigration system from 1 January 2021.  The new system will put an end to the EU free movement of people regime and will be a system where it is “a worker’s skills that matter, not which country they come from” and there is a focus on “quality” rather than “quantity”, all with a view to driving up skills and controlling numbers.

Whilst it is clear that following Brexit there will no longer be one immigration system for non-Europeans and one for EU citizens, the true extent of the future immigration policy is not clear. Much of the detail will depend on and future trade agreements and any exemptions agreed in such agreements, as well as, of course, what the final form of the Immigration Rules will look like after an extensive programme of engagement by the Government.

Under the proposals set out in the White Paper, for the majority of individuals wishing to work in the UK, their route to work will depend on whether they are a skilled worker or a temporary short-term worker at all skill levels.

Skilled worker

A route for workers from outside the EU to come to work in the UK in highly skilled jobs already exists, Tier 2 of the Points Based System. The White Paper proposes to extend this whilst making some amendments to achieve the aim of maximising the economic benefits that migrants bring to the UK. The main changes are:

  • A removal of the cap on the number of workers (being 20,700 per year) who can enter under the Tier 2 route for high skilled workers.   There will therefore be no limits on the volume of skilled migrants under that system.
  • The Resident Labour Market Test (which required employers to advertise a job for four weeks and to consider applications from resident workers before allowing applications from migrants) is to be abolished. This currently adds to the length of time the process takes and is not effective in ensuring that settled workers have the first opportunity to fill any vacancy.
  • The skills threshold for workers entering under the new skilled workers route will be lowered to RQF 3 or above (from 6 and above), except in respect of intra-company transfers which will remain at RQF 6. This includes A-level or advanced apprenticeship or Level 3 NVQs. Having said this, the minimum salary threshold of £30,000 may be retained (though the level is something the Government is seeking views on), meaning that (subject to falling within a lower entry level salary threshold or on the shortage occupation list (SOL)) many who may fall within the skills threshold would not satisfy the salary threshold. In fact the Government itself acknowledges that 60% of existing jobs in the intermediate skills level would not meet this salary threshold and it could be argued that a salary threshold of this level favours London and the South East.
  • The SOL which is used to give priority to individuals within the current highly-skilled route cap and to exempt migrants from minimum salary thresholds required for settlement if they are in a shortage occupation, will be kept under review.
  • Nationals from low risk countries should be able to look for work having entered as a visitor and apply to switch to the skilled worker programme, as compared to now where most applications needs to be made out of country.
  • A reform of the process for applying for the right to work. In the current non-EU high skilled route, all organisations seeking to employ persons from outside the EU have to apply and obtain a sponsor licence from the Home Office. As this process will be extended to sponsoring EU citizens, the Government recognises that improvements are required and hopes to improve the administrative burden on sponsors by a greater ability to share and utilise data across government agencies, such as HMRC and the Home Office.   They may also consider the use of umbrella organisations to act as sponsors, a lighter touch regime for trusted employers, as well as a tiered system of sponsorship ranging from a sponsor licence to a transactional system for those who do not need a licence or have small number of vacancies to fill.

 

Transitional short-term work

The Government acknowledges that certain sectors such as construction and social care have built up a reliance on lower skilled workers from the EU, which will not be assisted by the changes to the skilled workers route. In addition, it acknowledges that some skilled workers will come to the UK to work for shorter periods such as to fulfil a temporary contract. The Government has however accepted MAC’s recommendation that there will be no route specifically for lower skilled workers or for specific sectors (other than potentially for seasonal agricultural workers).   The future system very much focuses on prioritising skilled migration. However, for a transitional period after Brexit, there will be a new route for temporary short-term workers at any skill level to come to work in the UK without a sponsor to help employers move smoothly to the new immigration system. The system will operate as follows:

 

  • Workers will be able to come to work in the UK for a maximum of twelve months.
  • This will be followed by a cooling off period of a further twelve months to prevent long term working.
  • The worker will not be entitled to access public funds, request a right to extend to stay, switch to other routes, bring dependants or have the right to lead to permanent settlement.
  • The route will only be available to nationals of specified countries, for example those low risk countries with whom the UK negotiates an agreement concerning the supply of labour, including returns arrangements.
  • Workers will need to pay a visa fee to enter under this route and the intention would be that this amount will be increased incrementally each year to incentivise businesses to reduce their reliance on migrant labour.
  • The route will be under review and this may mean imposing a limit on the total number of people able to come under this route, if necessary.
  • By 2025, this route will be reviewed to determine whether there should be any continuing facility for temporary workers to come to the UK.

This route will therefore assist employers in the construction and social care industries in the short term, but it will not provide certainty as to the number of workers from year to year, nor would it appear to be a long term solution. Although, as noted by the Government, there are migrants in the UK undertaking low skilled worker, for example dependents of skilled workers, students, refugees and youth mobility visa holders are permitted to work in the UK, query if the numbers of these are sufficient to plug the potential gap in labour shortages identified by certain sectors.

Other routes

In addition to the above, the Government will also be operating routes from the current system for innovators (via the introduction of a new Start-Up visa route in Spring 2019), exceptional talent (by increasing the number of places available under this route), investors who are looking to make a substantial investment in the UK, as well as other temporary workers such as looking to expand existing youth mobility routes (this permits people from certain countries who are aged 18-30 to come to the UK for two years) and supporting the existing temporary professional worker routes (including Government authorised exchanges, charity workers, religious workers, creative and sporting people and relating to the provision of services under an international agreement). If the EU reciprocates, the UK Government also proposes to make binding commitments regarding a future mobility partnership ensuring that visitors from the EU (including business visitors) will be facilitated, for example, there being no requirement to secure a visit visa.

Next steps

This White Paper is not the final rules and the Government proposes a 12 month programme of engagement with sectors to listen to views and proposals before drafting the final rules. In addition, as we have discussed much of the detailed exemptions will depend on future trade agreements with countries, including any future working arrangement with the EU. What remains clear is that the Government wishes to continue its commitment to reduce annual net migration to sustainable levels, whilst acknowledging that it needs to support an open, global economy in line with its industrial strategy.

 

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