Status of EU citizens in the UK: what you need to know
On the 21st of June 2018 the Home Secretary announced the intention of an EU Settlement scheme.
The UK government has reached an agreement with the European Union (EU) on citizens’ rights, ahead of the UK leaving the EU on 29 March 2019. Details of the settlement scheme are still subject to approval by Parliament and some questions are still to be answered but below are some key points you need to know as an employer.
- First though what is the Settlement Scheme?
In short it is going to mean that EU Citizens can apply for ‘Settled Status’ and ‘Pre Settled Status’
‘Settled Status’ – EU citizens and family in the UK by 31 December 2020 and continuously resident for 5 years can stay indefinitely by obtaining ‘settled status’
‘Pre Settled Status’ – EU Citizens living in the UK by 31 December 2020 but resident for less than 5 years can apply for 5 years’ ‘pre-settled status’. They will have at least until 30 June 2021 to apply for this status.
- What is the Criteria and Process for applicants?
All applicants will need to:-
- They need to prove their identity
- Undergo criminal and security checks
- Show residence in the UK by 31 December 2020.
Subject to this your employee will get either settled status or pre settled status depending on how long they have had continuous residence in the UK.
It is worth mentioning that your employee doesn’t have to of had continued employment for the last 5 years which is a change to previous statements.
The below chart shows the EU Settlement Scheme dates (from the .gov website)
Getting status under the scheme means your employee can continue to live and work in the UK as they do now. It will mean they will continue to be eligible for:
- public services, such as healthcare and schools
- public funds and pensions, according to the same rules as now
- British citizenship, if they meet the requirements
- Online applications to confirm identify using a passport, national ID card or BRP (Biometric Residence Permit).These applications will be proceed via mobile apps, tablets so should be a very quick process of a few days turn around. This has yet to be confirmed but an online timer when they apply will inform how long the wait is.
- Your employer will need to enroll a facial image by uploading a passport photo.
- Provide National Insurance Number to show 5 years status or provide alternative documents.
- Declare any criminal convictions to confirm no serious or persistent criminality. This will consist of a HMRC check.
Please note that applications can be made by post but this will slow the process down as will if they have to provide alternative documents to a NI number.
- Timings and cost
When to apply:-
The Settled Status process will be phased in towards the end of 2018 and fully open by 30 March 2019. There rights will not change until 2021 so there is no need for them to apply for status as soon as the scheme opens. But if they would like to find out the latest information they can sign up for Email Updates Here.
Deadline for those living in the UK is 31st December 2021. It is sensible to wait until 5 years status and not pre apply by avoid applying twice if they are in the timeframe.
The cost will be £65.00 per person and £32.50 for 16 years and under.
It is free for the following:
– From April 2019 settled status applicants who already has pre-settled status
– For those previously issued a permanent residence document
– No Immigration Health Charge
- Anticipated challenges
We obviously need a positive approach but there will certainly be challenges along the way:- such as
- Much of the detail for the process is still under consideration
- Sheer volume of applications going through a new system
- Optimistic view that those with 5 years will have sufficient HMRC/DWP records
- Having to submit alternative evidence of 5 years will slow the process down
- If it doesn’t go well, likely to add to perception of ‘hostile environment’
What if the UK leaves the EU ‘without a deal’?
UK Government hasn’t given a definitive answer but the even without a deal, more likely than not that current plans (or something similar) would remain because:
- Applying for a Permanent Residence Document
- The Home Office says there is no need for EU citizens in the UK to apply for a permanent residence document.
- BUT EU citizens can still apply for a PR document if they are eligible and must do so if they want to apply for British citizenship before March 2019.
- Obtaining a PR document now rather than waiting for settled status may give a quicker route to British citizenship.
- How to prepare
What Should Employers Be Doing Now?:-
- Log in to the government website and register for updates
- Support for permanent residence document or citizenship applications
- Extend similar support to non-EU family members of EU citizens
Questions for EU employees to consider: –
- Are they likely to have 5 years’ HMRC/DWP records?
- Documents to collate in absence of HMRC/DWP records?
- Significant absences from the UK?
- When to apply (may be better to wait in some cases)?
What can employers do to prepare for the unknown:-
Bear in mind:
- Skills shortages may lead to salary increases
- the visa process for new EU arrivals may be ‘employer-led’
- the increased cost of obtaining work visas for new EU arrivals in the UK
- extra resources needed to address day-to-day immigration issues
- none of this legitimises discrimination on racial grounds in recruitment.
People who already have indefinite leave to remain
If you already have indefinite leave to remain this will not be affected by the UK leaving the EU. However, settled status gives some better rights and if you would like to, you can exchange this for settled status free of charge. If you are a non-EU citizen, you will need to provide evidence of your family relationship to an EU citizen resident in the UK.
We will keep you posted on the updates.
Source Information from:
Government Guidance – Government Guidance
Squire Patton Boggs – Squire Patton Boggs