After May’s dramatic UK General Election results, the new Coalition Government has announced its first set of policies. Taking place on 25 May 2010, the Queen’s Speech traditionally follows a new Government coming to power and outlines what the Government’s priorities are for the coming year.
The Speech touched on several areas that may potentially impact relocation to, and within, the UK in the future, although further policy planning work is still needed before the exact details can be published.
The UK Government plans to introduce an annual cap on non EU immigration although the actual limit is yet to be announced. The UK introduced a new “points based” immigration system in 2008 which has already placed tighter guidelines on UK employers who employ non EU nationals and is expected to remain in place.
In air travel, the existing “per-passenger” tax is to be replaced with a “per-flight duty” to encourage airline companies to fill each flight. Should this lead to a tax increase, companies with regular air travellers like business commuters and short term assignees could be affected by the potential additional costs.
Application of the European Union (EU) Working Time Directive in the UK will be limited. (This is an EU policy that legislates on working hours, most usually preventing employees from working more than 48 hours every seven days.) Currently it is possible for workers to “opt-out” of the 48 hour rule but it is anticipated that employers will welcome further flexibility on this Directive.
In addition, in an early move that has already had some impact on the home buying and selling process in England and Wales, the new Government suspended the requirement for a Home Information Pack (HIP) as part of the property sale process. An Energy Performance Certificate however is still required. Employers relocating staff in the UK involving a home sale will already have welcomed the cost reduction caused by no longer needing to provide a HIP as part of the sale process.