The Government has provided some additional details on their announcement that EU nationals will be able to apply for 'settled status' after Brexit. It has published a series of documents to support employers of EU nationals and encourage them to share the information with their staff prior to the scheme going live.
What is the EU settlement scheme?
We recently wrote about the scheme. The diagram below summarises the proposed process:
What employers need to know
The toolkit reminds employers that they have 'a duty not to discriminate against EU citizens in the light of the UK’s decision to leave the EU', whether they are applying for or are currently in a job. EU nationals settled in the UK before 31 December 2020 will continue to have the right to work until 30 June 2021, by which time they will need to have acquired either pre-settled or settled status if they want to remain.
Employers are not expected to get involved in the application of their EU nationals to settle, pay the fee or provide immigration advice. Nevertheless, the toolkit encourages them to share information as early as possible. As we highlighted previously, any support will demonstrate the employer’s commitment to their diverse workforce.
The application process
The toolkit provides additional information on the application process. As originally proposed, it will be primarily an online service, designed to be quick and easy. We particularly welcome the ability to use national insurance numbers to use tax or benefits data to demonstrate length of residence: EU nationals who have held more than one job over the qualifying period will find the process greatly simplified; and it will reduce the burden on employers to issue supporting paperwork.
Applicants will need to:
- scan a passport or national ID document and submit a photo ID for corroboration;
- enter their national insurance number if they have one or provide proof of residence such as P60s, utility bills or bank statements;
- complete a criminality check to ensure that they have no serious or persistent criminal convictions; and
- pay a fee.
Successful applicants will get proof of their status through the online service. They will not get a physical document unless they are from outside the EU and do not already have a biometric residence card.
The scheme will be phased in later this year and will gradually open more widely, until it is fully open by the end of March 2019. Employers and employees are encouraged to sign up for email alerts on the status of EU citizens in the UK to keep themselves updated.
For further information and support in future proofing your talent, please contact Caroline Bellanger Wood.