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Do you employ EU nationals? The EU settlement scheme

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce

Do You Employ EU Nationals? The EU Settlement Scheme

By Daniel Clarke, Policy & Research Advisor, GBCC

In Summary:

  • The UK Government has committed to ending Free Movement of People.
  • EU Citizens already living in the UK will be required to apply for “Pre-Settled” or “Settled” status in order to continue living and working in the UK as they do presently by 30th June 2021.
  • Employers are responsible for ensuring employees have the legal right to work in the UK. As such, it is recommended that you raise awareness of the EU Settlement Scheme among EEA nationals in your workforce.

Did you know?

The GBCC runs a series of free Brexit Clinics which offer delegates the opportunity to speak face to face with guest experts on key Brexit related issues and how their organisations can respond. Many feature discussions on “People & Skills Post-Brexit” which include advice on the EU Settlement Scheme and engaging employees. For more information click here.

What is the EU Settlement Scheme?

The EU Settlement Scheme was set up by the UK Government for EU citizens who currently live in the UK. The scheme allows EU citizens and their family members to continue living, working and studying in the UK after the 31st December 2020, which is when the transition period ends after the UK leaves the EU. EU citizens will also continue to have access to education, healthcare and pensions, and their non-EU family members who are living in the UK by the 31st December 2020 will also be eligible to apply for the scheme.

It is important to note that applicants to the scheme will be designated either settled status or pre-settled status. You are eligible for settled status if you have started living in the UK by 31st December 2020 and lived here for five-years continuous residence. This means that you need to have lived in the UK for five years in a row and spent at least six months here in any given twelve-month period. For those who achieve settled status, you will also be entitled to bring close family members to the UK after the 31st December 2020 if your relationship with them began before the 31st December 2020 and you are still in a relationship when they apply to join you. For those relationships that begin after the 31st December, you will be able to bring them to the UK on a family visa. An individual can spend up to five years in a row outside of the UK before losing their settled status.

Pre-settled status is for those who have yet to build up five years continuous residence in the UK. Individuals who are awarded pre-settled status can remain in the UK for a further five years from the date that they were awarded it. If they wish to stay for longer, they will need to apply for settled status after they have built up five years continuous residence in the UK. Those with pre-settled status can spend a maximum of two years in a row outside the UK without losing their status.

How can I/my employees apply for Settled Status?

You can apply for the scheme by filling in a short online application form using a computer tablet or mobile phone. On the application form you will need to provide proof of your identity, your residence in the UK and your relationship to a family member from the EU living in the UK (if applicable). For those who are applying for settled status you will also need to prove you have 5 years of continuous residence in the UK. Those over the age of 18 will also be subject to criminal background checks. If you have only committed a minor offence then you will still be eligible, with more serious convictions being judged on a case by case basis.

Once you have completed your application and it has been reviewed, successful applicants will be designated either settled status or pre-settled status and will receive digital proof of their status through an online service. The Government has stated that your new status will likely be granted within a couple of weeks of applying.  

The scheme is currently in its test phase and only open to individuals who are either a passport holder from the EU or a family member of someone from the EU, and you have a residence card with a biometric chip and ‘EU right to reside’ on the back. The scheme will be fully open from by the 30th March 2019. Individuals will then have until the 30th June 2021 to apply. In a no deal Brexit scenario you will have until the 31st December 2020 to apply.

Where can I find out more about the EU Settlement Scheme?

You can find out more information on the settled status scheme and how to apply by visiting the UK government website here.       

How might Brexit impact your business?

Don’t forget to take your Business Brexit Health Check for your free report on how Brexit may impact your organisation and the steps you can take to prepare.