24th September 2019
Resident employees, as EU citizens working and living in the UK, need to be aware of action needed this year to carry on working in the UK. They will have until 31 December 2020 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal. This could, of course, be extended or not actually happen depending on what happens over the next month or so. Employers, however, should plan now to ensure that their workforce is compliant should a no-deal Brexit occur.
Further government advice has been issued in September updating no-deal immigration arrangements for EU citizens.
Assuming the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019:
- Eligible applicants lawfully in the UK as of 31st October 2019 will be required to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. The deadline is 31 December 2020.
- Eligible applicants entering the UK between 1 November 2019 and 31 December 2020 should apply for temporary immigration status. This immigration is non-extendable and for a maximum 36-months. This is known as the European Temporary Leave to Remain (ETLR). An application will need to be completed by the deadline 31 December 2020. Time spent in the UK with ETLR status will not count towards settlement. Applications for ETLR will be simple and will be made after arrival in the UK. There are no fees for an application.
- Those who enter the UK post 1 January 2021 will be subject to new UK Immigration framework.
Ensuring your resident employees don’t fall foul of the law
Employers should check before 31st October to ensure that any EU employees currently working for their company are eligible to live and work in the UK.
After the 31st October, those resident employees that have not taken the appropriate action will be deemed to be here unlawfully. They will be liable to enforcement action, detention and removal as an immigration offender. They can apply to the EU settlement scheme here. Good employers need to understand and record the residency of their employees on their HR systems and be adequately prepared to advise those at risk.
Irish citizens will continue to have the right to enter, live and work in the UK without seeking permission.
In January 2021 a new points-based immigration system will be introduced. From this date, employers will need to check that an EU citizen has a valid UK immigration status. This would be in respect of any new recruitment or new provision of service, and status is not just an EU passport or national identity card.
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