EU Workers in the UK
In today’s economy there are over 2 million EU citizens working in the UK and as we hurtle towards Brexit various questions arise, such as - have employers considered:
- Whether any of their employees, who are EU nationals, are thinking of packing up and going home?
- Is this going to leave them with a staffing issue?
If you wish to retain what are often key workers in your business, you may need to encourage them to apply for settled status so they can continue to contribute to your business beyond June 2021.
What does Settled Status mean?
Getting settled status means they can continue to live and work in the UK for as long as they like and mean they are eligible for:
- public services, such as healthcare and schools
- public funds and pensions
- British Citizenship, if they meet the requirements
To be eligible for settled status, your employee will need to:
- be an EU citizen, or a family member of an EU citizen
- have been living in the UK continuously for 5 years (‘continuous residence’)
- have started living in the UK by 31st December 2020
If they have lived in the UK for less than 5 years, they will generally be eligible for ‘pre-settled status’ instead. If they are a non-EU citizen, they will need to show their relationship to an EU citizen living here.
Continuous residence means being in the UK for at least 6 months in each of those 5 years, except for:
- one period of up to 12 months for an important reason (for example, to work or study)
- compulsory military service
If they do not have this then they are likely to get ‘pre-settled status’ instead which means they can stay in the UK for a further 5 years and can live and work here and will have access to public funds and services on the same basis as they do now. Once they have 5 years’ continuous residence they can apply for settled status.
If your employees have children they will have to apply for settled status on their behalf (unless they are a British citizen). If your employee is eligible to apply, any children under 21 will also be eligible even if they arrive in the UK after 31st December 2020.
Your employees will have to prove their identity and residence in the UK and anyone, over the age of 18, will be asked about their criminal history. Though this will not necessarily stop them getting settled status, with each case being judged in its own right.
There are other issues involved such as where family members continue to live overseas, or where a family member is from outside of the EU.
So, in a nutshell, those who wish to remain in the UK need to be thinking about the process now.
Trials of the procedure are already underway and the scheme will be fully open by 30th March 2019.
Recent Announcement on Fees
On 21st January 2019 the Government announced that there will be no fee when the scheme opens fully. Anyone who has applied already, or who applies and pays a fee during the test phases, will have their fee refunded.
If your employees want to apply now, the fee (which will be refunded) is £65 for aged 16 or over and £32.50 for those under 16. It will be free to apply if your employees already have a valid ‘UK permanent residence document’ or indefinite leave to remain in or enter the UK.
Deadline for Applying
The deadline for applying will be 30th June 2021.
Further details can be found on the GOV.UK web site: