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Is your recruitment business prepared for Brexit? - Part one

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By Natasha South - Operations Director, Camino Partners

Is your recruitment business prepared for Brexit?

Ha, well actually that was a trick question, because the answer is no…

I expected to have been spending the majority of 2020 preparing content on this subject, but as you may be aware, several other things going on in the world have (understandably) taken priority.

Check out:The impact of COVID-19 on employment & the recruitment sector andThree months on...

But the fact is, as it stands today, the transition period for the UK leaving the EU is still set to end on 31st December. With the COVID-19 crisis still very much in full swing, we have to question whether there will (or should) be an extension to the transition period, given that we have still not managed to reach a deal, but reports have suggested this is very unlikely.

What this means for your recruitment business is that we can’t guarantee you will be fully ready for the changes on the 1st of January 2021.

In an ideal world, our legal and compliance functions would have a number of months to review any changes in legislation and policy, plan out process changes, get advice and guidance from our governing bodies (who themselves would be lobbying on our behalves) and ensure our businesses were operating in a safe and compliant way when the day comes. But unfortunately we are past that countdown clock now.

That being said there are things your business can do to ensure you are as prepared as possible for Brexit.  Though my main piece of advice would be, be prepared to give your legal & compliance function the biggest (COVID-friendly) hug once we get the final details because those guys will be working their bottoms off to get you ready!

What we don't know about Brexit.

How we’re actually going to be conducting business with the EU from a services point of view. 

Oh good…

There’s always been an ‘in-country’ element to the regulations we work to, but we don’t currently know the details around tariffs, taxes and various other things which may affect our commercial agreements and operating structures, which is less than ideal...

So what can you do to prepare your recruitment business for Brexit?

Firstly, have you completed the government's ‘Check, Change & Go’ online tool? Depending on your company’s situation this will highlight a number of issues you need to consider, including:

  • if you need a license to employ EU workers

  • if you need to change how you do your accounting & reporting

  • if your employees need to apply for the settlement scheme

  • if you need your UK qualifications recognised to work in regulated professions

Next, have you reached out to your governing body (APSCo, REC, etc.) to see what their advice is?

  • APSCo have got a fantastic portal of resources to help you understand what recommended actions you need to take in the event of a no-deal and are constantly updating the information.

In terms of current guidelines, this should get you in a decent position to react to whatever happens in the next couple of weeks.

These are just a few questions you need to be asking your business (and by no means an exhaustive list). This is not legal advice and the information is up to date as of November 2020. The fact is, no one can give you any definitive advice or guidance at the moment, but these are important considerations to have at the front of your mind.

What this highlights is why legal and compliance functions are so essential in the current climate. It is easy to lose focus on those departments that aren’t fee generating during tough times but the impact of not having these people in place will be far more destructive to your business.

Check out:How to build a compliance function from scratch

How could your compliance function save you £520k a year

If you need more information, please reach out and I can provide a list of resources -

If you need advice on how to establish or expand your legal and compliance team, get in touch with Sachin Ruparelia (CEO) for a consultation -

Check out Part 2 here.