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Work permits - LFB responds

LONDON Freelance Branch passed a motion at its April meeting noting the restrictions on the availability of work permits for foreign nationals (from outside the EU and the European Economic Area). To get a work permit, non-EU/EEA nationals normally need to be earning over £30,000 a year (there are some exemptions for "especially skilled workers").

Anti-Immigration Enforcement poster

Home Office Immigration Enforcement vans - whose occupants carry out random checks on immigration status - have already become hate figures, as witnessed in this poster spotted in London's Whitechapel.

This is of particular relevance to our freelance members, including those UK nationals trying to bring spouses and children from outside the EU, as most freelance workers have little hope of earning the kinds of sums required by the government. The Freelance, has already heard of cases of NUJ member staffers on work permits who were facing deportation after the last set of changes to work permit rules put the minimum earnings threshold above the salaries they were earning.

The Branch has asked the Union's National Executive Council and its Freelance Industrial Council to provide clear guidance for members on how the changing rules on work permits affect their status, or will do in the future. Watch this space.

This is - for the moment - a separate issue to what happens to our members who are nationals of "other EU" countries after Brexit: see our most recent report on this. The EU's negotiators made it clear on receipt of the UK's letter triggering Article 50 in March that resolving the status of EU nationals in the UK and UK expats in the EU is a priority for them.