With “B” day just around the corner, what do employers with EU employees need to know about settled status?
Settled status is a new immigration status that gives EU nationals indefinite leave to remain in the UK. With settled status, nationals from any EU Member State can continue to live and work in the UK and will be eligible to receive public funds and use public services.
Who can apply for settled status and how?
If the UK leave the EU with a Brexit deal, EU nationals who have lived in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years by 31st December 2020, can apply for settled status. Any EU nationals that have lived in the UK for less than 5 years by 31st December 2020 will be allowed to stay in the UK under “pre-settled status” until they reach the requisite 5 years, at which point they can also apply for settled status.
There is a planned deadline for individuals eligible to apply for status to do so by 30th June 2021. It is important to note that EU nationals will not be automatically granted status and must apply to be granted settled status or pre-settled status. The application will cost £65 for adults and £32.50 for children under the age of 16, although, these fees will be waived from 30th March 2019 and anyone who has already paid will be reimbursed.
What if there is a no-deal Brexit?
In the event that the UK leave the EU without a deal in place, the government have confirmed that the same scheme will apply but there will be several modifications. EU nationals who have been living in the UK prior to 29th March 2019 will have to apply for status by 31st December 2020. Settled status will not be granted to those individuals who come to the UK after 29th March 2019. EU nationals who come to the UK following this date can stay for 3 months without applying for a visa or any form of immigration status. Should the individual wish to stay longer, they will have to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain which will be valid for 3 years. A separate, additional application will need to be made for anyone wanting to stay in the UK for longer than 3 years.
What do employers need to do?
Although there is no requirement for employers to communicate the upcoming EU settlement scheme to their workers, it may be beneficial for both the workers and the employers to go over the upcoming requirements and understand what steps need to be taken in preparation for Brexit. Employers should note that current right to work checks will apply until the end of 2020, at which point holders of pre-settled or settled status can use their online immigration profiles instead.
The government has issued the following guidance to give additional information to both employers and EU nationals to better understand their position and what next steps should be implemented. The government has also issued an employer toolkit introducing employers to the upcoming scheme and how best to prepare for the 30th March 2019.
If you would like to discuss this article in more detail, please do not hesitate to contact our Immigration Consultant, Mo Chowdhury.
This article is not a definitive statement of the law. It is designed as a free update on the law at the time of publishing. It is not a substitute for legal advice on specific facts and circumstances. BakerLaw LLP and/or the writer accepts no liability or responsibility for reliance on this article and recommends that you seek independent legal advice on your specific circumstances prior to taking any steps.