Feb 8

Are any of your employees EU passport holders and have you checked their immigration status….?

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The UK has left the European Union…..what does this mean for employers when it comes to checking whether their staff have the right to work in the UK, and what do employees from the EU need to do now?

At the moment employees can prove their right to work in the UK by showing their employer a valid passport or identity card from one of the countries below. However, now is a great time to make sure you understand what will be changing, so that you can be prepared and stay ahead.

Which employees are affected?

They are affected if they are a European passport holder or have a national ID card from any of these countries:

* Austria * Estonia * Ireland (optional) * Netherlands * Spain
* Belgium * Finland * Italy * Norway * Sweden
* Bulgaria * France * Latvia * Poland * Switzerland
* Croatia * Germany * Liechtenstein * Portugal
* Cyprus * Greece * Lithuania * Romania
* Czech Rep * Hungary * Luxembourg * Slovakia
* Denmark * Iceland * Malta * Slovenia

What changed?

Up until now, these employees have been free to live and work in the UK without needing any sort of visa. There have been no restrictions on the sort of work they can do and how long they can live here for. The UK government has given all Europeans until 30 June 2021 to take action.

All employers should….(before too long and well before 30.6.21) do the following:

• Audit your employees and see who is on an EU passport/residence card
• Ask them what their immigration status is
• If they have Pre-Settled or Settled status, ask to see confirmation of that status

If they are unsure or aware that they need to formalise their status you can advise them as follows:

1. Make an application to the UK Home Office for Settled or Pre Settled Status

This is to ensure that the Home Office knows they are physically in the UK and can give a legal status document for the future. Without applying, the employee will not be recognised as being legal in the UK after 1 July 2021. This means that they will not be able to live here or work here without a visa.

2. European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)

Employees can apply under the EUSS for either Settled or Pre Settled status. The difference between the two depends on how long they have lived here for – less than 5 years or more than 5 years.

Employees who have already lived in the UK for 5 years or more:

They should apply to the Home Office for Settled status under EUSS. Settled status gives them the right to live in the UK indefinitely. It means:

• They can live and work in the UK without any sort of work permit or sponsorship
• They can work for any UK employer or be self employed
• They can leave the UK for up to 5 years and still come back as a permanent resident
• They are entitled to NHS services as long as they are living here
• In most cases, they will be able to apply for a British passport after a year of having Settled status

Employees who have lived in the UK for less than 5 years

They should apply to the Home Office for Pre Settled status under EUSS. Pre settled status gives them the right to continue to live and work in the UK. They can then apply for Settled status once they have been here for 5 years. As the holder of Pre Settled status:

• They can continue to live and work here after 30 June 2021 without any other visa or sponsorship
• They can work for any UK employer or be self employed
• They are entitled to NHS services as long as they are living here
• They can apply for Settled status after living here for 5 years and then a UK passport
• They can leave the UK for up to 2 years and still come back with their Pre Settled status.
However, if they spend more than 6 months outside the UK in any 12 month period, their cycle to claim Settled status after 5 years will start again.

3. What happens after the employee applies?

They will receive an email from the Home Office acknowledging their application. In most cases, they will then receive a further email confirming whether they have been granted Pre Settled or Settled status.

Once they have this, no further action is required.

4. When can they apply for a UK passport?

In most cases, they can apply for UK citizenship one year after obtaining Settled status. Before they apply, they should check that their home country allows them to hold dual nationality. Once approved for naturalisation as a British citizen, they can apply for their first British passport.

5. Your employee’s family

They will need to apply under the EUSS for family members living with them provided they are EU nationals. If they are from outside the EU, the situation may not be straightforward and they should obtain advice.

In a nutshell!

• Audit staff now
• Encourage relevant staff to take action now if they have any doubts about their status
• Point them in this direction: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families

If you require any assistance at all please email nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk or call Nicola on +44(0)7917 878384