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Have your employees registered for the EU Settlement Scheme?
As the deadline for registering for the EU Settlement Scheme (“the Scheme”), 30th June 2021, is upon us, it is worth asking, have you checked whether your employees, who are EU, EEA or Swiss nationals, have applied under the Scheme? The EU Settlement Scheme has been introduced by the UK Government to allow those who are EU, EEA or Swiss citizens to make applications to continue living in the UK after 30th June 2021. Other rights of EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status include, the right to work in the UK, use the NHS and access public funds such as benefits and pensions.
The Home Office have recently clarified that this deadline will not be extended and that it is sending 28-day enforcement notices to anyone who has not applied for settled status to put them on notice of the need to make an application under the Scheme.
How does this affect employers?
From 1st July 2021, employers of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will not be able to rely upon employees’ EEA passports/ID cards alone in order to comply with right to work checks. They will also need to see proof of immigration status, which will either be under the EU Settlement Scheme or the new immigration system.
Once an employee has successfully applied for settled or pre-settled status, their immigration status will be documented and recorded electronically, and this online profile can be used as evidence to their employer of their right to work.
What should employers do now?
The key for affected employees is that their applications under the EU Settlement Scheme are submitted prior to 30th June 2021. Employers who have not done so already should therefore consider sending communications to staff to highlight this deadline and the fact that from 1st July, they may need to carry out follow-up checks on employees’ right to work in the UK. These follow up checks should usually be done where individuals have not already provided evidence of their settled, pre-settled status or ongoing application under the EU Settlement Scheme or have time-limited permission to work in the UK or where their previous permission comes to an end.
Employees who do not have pre-settled status, settled status or have a pending application under the EU Settlement Scheme or other appropriate immigration status after 30 June 2021 will lose their right to work in the UK and it may be unlawful to employ them or keep them in employment. Employees who are late in applying to the Scheme, or who have not yet done so, may not be granted settled or pre-settled status once their application is considered by the Home Office and you may need to dismiss them in those circumstances as not being eligible to work in the UK.
After that date, if you want to employ EU citizens who are not covered by the EU Settlement Scheme and have no other appropriate right to work in the UK, you will have to apply for a sponsorship licence and your employees or new recruits would need to be granted an appropriate visa.