6 February 2019
Employers' Guide to employing EU Nationals after Brexit
With yet more arguments and news headlines daily, and a no-deal Brexit looking increasingly possible, it’s important that companies invest time and resources into checking the status of their European workforce and helping them where they can, otherwise this can have significant cost and commercial risk implications.
Key facts so far:
- If an EU national has lived in the UK for 5 continuous years, they will be able to apply for “Settled Status” which will ensure they can continue to live and work in the UK as long as they wish.
- If an EU National hasn’t yet lived here for 5 continuous years, they can apply for “Pre-settled Status” which will mean that they can continue to live and work in the UK and then apply for “Settled Status” when they do have 5 continuous years of residence.
- The online application system is still in test phase and it will open fully on 30 March 2019 so it isn’t essential for anyone to do anything yet. However, if people want to do so, and if they have an EU passport and an Android phone, they can access the test phase now to apply.
- It will be compulsory for all EU Citizens to be registered by 30 June 2021 if they want to continue to reside in the UK. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the deadline for applying will be 31 December 2020.
What employers can do now:
- Review who in your workforce will be impacted.
- Encouraging employees to consider their status early on and apply for the most appropriate documentation for them.
- Utilise the available resources – use the government’s employer EU settlement scheme toolkit, which provides fact sheets, posters and videos to help you to raise awareness among your employees.
- You could also consider hosting information workshops by immigration experts to provide up-to-date information if you have a large number of EU nationals in your workforce.
- Allow people who don’t have internet access at home time and facilities at work to access the registration website – consider a ‘champion’ to support them through the process and help them understand the requirements, especially if form filling and admin does not come naturally to them.
- Start to undertake personnel file reviews and complete full right to work checks on employees - this needs to be before the EU settlement scheme deadline for applications on 30 June 2021 (complete activities by March/April 2021) or 31 December 2020 if we leave without a deal (complete activities in September / October 2020 to allow time to apply before the deadline)
This last step is important for employers to ensure their workforce still has the right to work in the UK. Don’t forget you can be fined up to £20,00 per employee for not completing the appropriate right to work checks. Note that non-UK citizens who do not apply for the correct residence status by the deadline would be considered to be in the UK unlawfully and therefore it would be a criminal offence for employers to employ them, risking the fines outlined.
The government recently (in January 2019) updated their guidance and process on this – here’s a link to the document.
Talk to Emma at Embrace HR if you need more help with any of the above - email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01204 292007.
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