The EU Settlement Scheme: what
your business should be doing
January 18, 2019
It is impossible to overestimate how difficult this nearly three-year-long period of uncertainty, which started after the Referendum, has been for EU nationals who are living and working in the UK.
They have not had a clear-cut guarantee of their and their dependants’ right to stay and work. From a business perspective, this uncertainty could have a very negative impact on employers retaining EU national staff, and recruiting them in the future.
While the Vote Leave campaign promised ‘no change for EU citizens already lawfully resident in the UK’, the government chose to introduce its EU Settlement Scheme, which will cost £65 for every EU adult and £32.50 for each dependant child to register their immigration status. (It is free only if you already have indefinite leave to remain or a valid permanent residence document.)
To soften the impact, some large employers have chosen to pay the Settlement Scheme fees on behalf of their EU workforce and dependants as a gesture of goodwill.
What you can do to reassure your EU workforce
- If you haven’t already started, now is the time for your company to undertake an audit of your staff to identify who this will affect. Ensure that you are also taking into account any spouses or dependants (close family members) of EEA nationals.
- Encourage your employees to review the options open to them. For instance, if they are eligible for Permanent Residence it might be more appropriate to apply for that instead of the EU Settlement Scheme.
- Make use of the factsheets, posters and videos that the government has provided to raise awareness in your workforce. There is a dedicated site here with information that could be printed off and distributed.
- Ensure that every new appointment of a worker from the EU is finalised before March 2019 in the short term, and December 2020 in the long term.
- Check the expiry date of your Tier 2 sponsor licence. This system is likely to be extended to EU nationals after 2020.
- Make a note in your office diary to conduct Right to Work checks in 2020 in order for your business to remain compliant with new immigration rules.
What will happen if they don’t apply on time?
It has not been made explicit what will happen to those who miss the deadline for application (30 June 2021 if the Deal goes ahead, and even earlier if it doesn’t). But it’s assumed that failure to apply will render the individual without a legal right to work or reside here. It could also have a negative effect on their ability to rent a property or access public services.
For the employer, it could become a criminal offence to employ them – catastrophic for both EU worker and your business.
What Smith Stone Walters is offering you
Our comprehensive Brexit Immigration Service is fully prepared. Its intention is to reassure both you and your EU workers. You can tailor it to the requirements of each client and the resources we are offering include:
- A thorough audit
We will review the status of all your EU employees to see how the Settlement Scheme will affect them and their family members
- Bespoke presentations
We will deliver seminar sessions to your workforce tailored to meet your objectives
- Settlement Scheme surgeries
With your consent, we will provide onsite one-to-one drop-in sessions with your EU employees.
- Assistance with applications
We will assist with submitting pre-settled and settled status applications via the EU Settlement Scheme on behalf of your workers.
- Compliance reviews
We will examine your Right to Work checks and provide advice on best practice post-Brexit.
- Our unique EU Tracker
You will be able to manage and track the progress of your EU citizens’ journey towards EU settlement via our unique EU Tracker. Boasting a host of features, our robust and secure software platform will support both you and your EU employee through the process of applying for UK immigration status under the EU Settlement Scheme.The EU Tracker will provide your business with a real-time overview of the current progress made by your EU staff towards settled status and ensure they apply within the permitted time.
Talk to Smith Stone Walters about how we can start supporting your organisation and assist your EU employees in securing their long-term status in the UK. We hold the answers.