POOLE’S global cosmetics brand Lush has hired a specialist in immigration law to advise its hundreds of staff who stand to be affected by Brexit.

More than half the company’s 1,000 workers in Poole are from overseas and the company also has British staff working abroad.

Lush, whose ethically sourced handmade cosmetics are sold around the world, has awarded a Brexit consultancy contract to Portsmouth-based GBS UK Immigration.

Lush has grown in 22 years from a single shop in Poole to a major brand with more than 18,500 staff and 932 shops in 49 countries.

Dozens of sessions will be arranged to advise staff on their immigration status at Lush’s bases in Poole, London and Dusseldorf in Germany.

The sessions will be provided by Victoria Girsa, a director with GBS UK Immigration’s south coast office, who is Eastern European with Latvian and British citizenship.

Lush’s chief executive Mark Constantine lobbied for Britain to remain in the European Union. He has warned of the difficulty of recruiting in Poole without labour from the EU.

A spokesperson for Lush said: “Freedom of movement is integral to Lush as a business, allowing us to put the right people in the right positions regardless of nationality and forge equal relationships with suppliers in remote areas of the world.

“With the help of Victoria and her colleagues at GBS UK Immigration, we are taking steps to support staff members affected by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU as we navigate this complex political situation together.”

Victoria Girsa, who speaks English, Latvian, Polish and Russian in her staff sessions, said: “There is a lot of conflicting advice out there in the wake of the Brexit result, leaving nationals from the European Economic Area, which includes the EU, confused and worried about where they stand legally with residency rights.

“Many of them are hoping to qualify for settled status which would provide them with the same rights as British citizens after the Brexit.

“The new UK government proposal on EU nationals’ rights in the UK post-Brexit, published on June 26, creates more questions than provides answers and adds to the confusion and uncertainty of what EU nationals should do.

“Each case is unique and requires professional legal advice regarding paperwork, documentation and application updates from the Home Office.

“We are repeatedly hearing that some staff are being advised what to do by family and friends, but failure to obtain the right advice could result in applications being refused and immigration records being tarnished, thus impacting on the ability to remain in the UK or re-enter in the future.”