Settled Status - Don't overlook this for your EU workers
Settled Status for EU Workers
There has been a lot of talk about the next phase of the settled status scheme being opened for more EU citizens to apply. Employers are urged to encourage staff to apply early and not let the issue get overlooked. This current stage applies only to those who have a valid passport. Unfortunately, who will be able to claim settled status and when depends upon there being a deal with the EU and as the shenanigans in Parliament continue without resolution, it is unlikely that any of us will know how the scheme is going to fully operate for some time.
The day after the scheme was opened to all EU citizens with a valid passport, the £65.00 fee was abolished, which is further evidence of the fluidity that we are facing.
We would not advise any of our clients to give immigration advice, but if you have EU workers that you wish to retain, you may want to make sure that they are aware of the option to apply for settled status and point them in the right direction. While some companies chose to pay the fee for their workers, there will be no need for a fee to be paid going forward.
Settled status is equivalent to permanent residency. It will give qualifying EU workers the right to live, work and study in the UK. A question mark still remains about the date on which the EU citizen has to be resident in the UK to apply. They must have lived here continuously for five years at that date.
Each member of the family needs to apply for settled status, including spouses of British citizens. Children born in the UK will automatically have British citizenship. Applicants will have to provide proof of ID and residency as well as undergo a DBS check. After obtaining settled status, they need to maintain it by remaining resident in the UK for a period of five years after that. If they are not resident within that time their settled status will lapse. If you are planning to send EU citizens abroad on overseas long-term secondments once they have obtained settled status, you will need to be aware of this five year rule.
Beware however that the scheme will only apply to people who are resident here on 29 March if we crash out of the EU without a deal. If we leave the EU with a deal, EU citizens will be able to apply for settled status up to 30 December 2020. Until we know the outcome of our Brexit process, this question will remain.
If you would like assistance with signposting your EU employees in the right direction, we will be happy to help.