Whether you are an employer who employs EU(1)* nationals or an EU national who would like to remain living in the UK after Brexit, you must ensure you act to preserve your right to remain in the UK.
With the introduction of the EU Settlement Scheme, EU nationals who have been living in the UK for a period of 5 years or more can apply for Settled Status and those who have been living in the UK for a period of less than 5 years can apply for Pre-Settled Status.
The Home Office have recently released statistics confirming that to 31 August 2019 there have been almost 1.3 million applications to the EU Settlement Scheme. Almost two thirds of applicants have been granted Settled Status, with just over a third being granted Pre-Settled Status.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, EU nationals will need to have been living in the UK before it leaves the EU to apply. The Brexit date is currently set for 31 October 2019 and is only 3 weeks away. If the UK leaves without a deal, those EU nationals present before 31 October 2019 will have until 31 December 2020 to apply to the scheme.
The relevant dates are slightly different if the UK leaves with a deal. EU nationals must be living in the UK by 31 December 2020 and will have until 30 June 2021 to apply to the scheme.
The Home Office have simplified the application process and for some it may only take a matter of minutes to apply. EU nationals who have access to an Android mobile phone can download the ‘EU Exit: ID Document Check’ app. This service can be used to confirm the applicant’s identity electronically, without the need to post ID documents to the Home Office. When the applicant’s ID has been confirmed they can then proceed with the online application. The Home Office can make a determination in some cases without the need for any additional documents to be supplied. This is due to the online application linking with HMRC to check residence against tax and benefits records. If additional documents are required they can be uploaded electronically, for consideration.
The EU Settlement Scheme: Employer Toolkit contains helpful guides for employers and employees. It can be located by following the link below:
Organisations and businesses that rely on an EU workforce should be considering how best to retain their current workforce now. Replacing them will likely become difficult and expensive after the UK leaves the EU and after the EU Settlement Scheme application period ends.
Employers may also wish to consider the wider implications of Brexit on their business, in particular whether they have the correct HR procedures in place to ensure they have carried out all of the relevant right to work checks for all of their employees. This may be an appropriate time to review those procedures and ensure your business is fully prepared moving forward.
We advise on a full range of immigration matters for both businesses and individuals. A leaflet confirming the full range of immigration matters we can advise on can be found by following the link below:
For further information on the EU Settlement Scheme, HR compliance reviews or any immigration matter, please contact our immigration specialist Calum Hanrahan at our Lincoln office on 01522 515954, or by email; [email protected].
(1)* EU Nationals used throughout this blog refers to EEA and Swiss nationals, who are all eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.