Now that Britain has left the European Union, employers may be wondering what happens in regard to EU citizens under their employment.
If they wish to remain in the UK, workers from the EU will need to apply to the government’s EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021. They may have already done this, or you may wish to point them in the right direction.
If you are keen to support EU citizens applying for settlement, the government has now released a toolkit of information for employers, which includes an overview of the scheme, a template letter to send to EU citizen staff, and other promotional materials to make the process as straightforward as possible.
Below is a brief summary of the advice issued.
EU Settlement Scheme
EU citizens who have resided in the UK for five years or more by 31 December 2020 will be able to apply for ‘settled status’. This entitles them to continue living and working in the UK.
Important points for employers to note include:
The application process
There are three steps to the online application process.
- Step 1: Workers will first need to verify their identity and nationality by uploading a digital photo of themselves and providing proof of either their passport, national identity card, or biometric residence card.
- Step 2: They will then be asked for their National Insurance number as proof of residence.
- Step 3: The final stage is a criminality check, which will require applicants to declare any criminal convictions (only serious or persistent criminality will affect an individual’s application).
Responsibility for applying to the EU Settlement Scheme rests with employees. As an employer, you are not legally required to facilitate the process or communicate with your EU workforce about the scheme, but it’s a good idea to direct employees to the government’s toolkit so that they have all the information they need to do this themselves.
While there is nothing for employers to do now, you should be aware that:
Director of Legal Services
Although EU citizens have until 30 June 2021 to apply to the scheme, you may wish to encourage workers to apply online now so that they can ensure settled status well ahead of time. It is not yet clear what contingency plans will be in place for those who don’t apply by the deadline; however, supporting staff to achieve settled status in the coming months will reduce the risk of them remaining illegally after this date, thereby minimising disruption to your workforce next year.