“Settled Status” and supporting employees through Brexit
23 January 2019
Following the Government’s announcement of its plan for EU nationals and their family members after Brexit, many UK employers are struggling to understand the potential effects on their employees.
What is the current situation?
The Government has set out its intentions for the future status of EU nationals and their family members. The plan is that they are going to apply for settled status under a new registration process being called the EU Settlement Scheme. The type of status they will be eligible for will depend on the amount of time they have resided in the UK. We know that those who have acquired and received evidence of their permanent residence will be able to swap their status directly for settled status.
The Government is currently in the process of piloting the scheme and by March 2019 it should be open to the public. This is unlikely to change, even if there is a no-deal Brexit.
How will the Settled Status system work?
An applicant will be able to apply through an android phone app and online via a website. The app has the significant advantage of allowing the applicant to scan in their passport via the app, rather than posting it into the Home Office for verification.
What can you do now for your employees?
It is vital that EU nationals and their family members are made aware of the proposals and the process they will have to follow. Those who have lived in the UK for a long time may be able to apply for Permanent Residence or even British citizenship, thus avoiding the requirements of the new system. HR staff will also benefit from understanding the new system and how this will affect European staff being relocated to the UK.
We have developed a suite of options to help businesses support their employees though Brexit.
1. A Frequently Asked Questions brochure on the EU settlement scheme
We have designed a handy FAQ document for EU nationals which brings together all the current available information on the settled status process into one easy-to-read document. We constantly update it to ensure that it has all the new information we have gathered from our contacts at the Home Office. It is an ideal first step in your communication strategy to ensure that your employees have the information they need so they are ready to apply.
2. On site training
Our popular training sessions provide an in-depth analysis of the Government’s Brexit plans. These sessions can take place at your office, with any number of attendees, and will cover the settled status process in more detail, allowing your employees to ask any questions that may concern them. We can also tailor the sessions for HR staff who need to understand how they will be able to lawfully employ EU staff in the future.
We can offer a presentation or a roundtable discussion depending on your preference. We are flexible regarding length, but we recommend a session of two hours to give employees a comprehensive understanding of their rights, the available documentation and an opportunity to take questions from the group.
3. Video training session
We can also provide you with a bespoke training video for you to show large groups of employees who may not be able to attend a face to face session due to location or working patterns. The video covers a lot of the content from our on site training sessions and will ensure that the viewer will have a thorough understanding of the settled status scheme.
Now we have a clearer idea of the rights and entitlements EU nationals will have after Brexit, it is important that individuals obtain specific tailored advice on their particular circumstances as there can be many variable factors. We can provide one-on-one surgeries of 15 to 30 minutes per person to advise them on their situation. The surgeries work well as a complement to the training session.
5. Application support
Although the settled status application process should be relatively straight forward, these things seldom are in practice and we find that regardless of how simple something is, applicants really appreciate reassurance and support when submitting such an important application. We can bring an android phone or laptop to your office and spend time supporting your employees in the submission of their applications. This also helps reassure you as an employer that your immigration compliance duties will be more easily met as everyone has the status they require.
We also offer more comprehensive application support to employees who are making applications for Permanent Residence under the current system and want to naturalise as a British citizen. We offer streamlined application support at low cost to individuals making straightforward applications on the basis of employment in the UK.