British employers are to receive a “toolkit” designed to help EU citizens register for the new immigration status they will need following Brexit.
The toolkit, launched by the Home Office earlier this week, will contain a variety of materials designed to help employers know what they need to do for any EU workers in their team and to communicate the details of the EU Settlement Scheme to their employees. This is intended to help make sure that all EU citizens working in the UK know how to secure settled status once the UK leaves the EU.
Materials in the toolkit include a breakdown of the key things employers need to know and details of the EU Settlement Scheme for employees, as well as videos, leaflets and posters focusing on the application process, eligibility, timelines and other practical information.
The toolkit was unveiled at an event attended by representatives from some of the UK’s largest employers, as well as campaign groups dedicated to protecting the rights of EU citizens living and working in the UK, who are currently estimated to number from 3.5-3.8 million.
The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, said:
“Our settlement scheme will offer security and certainty to EU citizens living in the UK.
“Once the scheme has launched, employers, industry groups and charities will play a vital role in ensuring they can secure their status quickly and easily.
“The toolkit will help us to reach out to all EU citizens living in this country and help them get their new immigration status.”
The EU Settlement Scheme will be trialed from 28 August in three Liverpool universities and 12 north-west NHS trusts before a phased rollout begins later in the year with the scheme intended to be fully open from 30 March 2019.
The scheme is designed to offer a streamlined, user-friendly application system for EU citizens who wish to continue living and working in the UK. The process will involve three stages – an identity check, criminal background check and UK residency check.
This will allow EU citizens and their families who have been continuously resident in the UK for five years by 31 December 2020 to receive ‘settled status’ allowing them to stay in the country indefinitely.
Those who arrive by 31 December 2020 but who have not yet been continuously resident for five years will be able to secure ‘pre-settled status’ allowing them to stay until they reach the five-year threshold, at which point they will be able to apply for settled status.
According to the government’s statement of intent regarding the scheme, the emphasis will be on “looking to grant, not for reasons to refuse, and caseworkers will be able to exercise discretion in favour of applicants where appropriate”.
Applications will cost £65 (£32.50 for under 16s) and those with documented permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain will be able to exchange this for settled status at no cost.
The statement of intent also makes clear that there will be no change to EU citizens current rights under EU law until 31 December 2020 and sets out an application deadline for the settled status scheme of 30 June 2020.
The announcement of the EU workers toolkit comes on the heels of the publication of the long-promised government White Paper on the future UK-EU relationship.
The White Paper sets out details of the government’s proposals for an effective future relationship with the European Union. It covers four main areas – economic partnership, security partnership, cross-cutting & other cooperation and institutional arrangements.
Issues covered include the government’s ideas to enable frictionless trade across borders and a “framework for mobility” including a commitment to end free movement while still allowing UK and EU citizens to travel to each other’s countries.
However, the White Paper contains no specifics on how immigration to the UK by EU citizens will work post-Brexit, meaning there is still a great deal of uncertainty for anyone who might have plans to move to the country after 2020.
For advice on supporting EU workers in your business, applying for settled status or any other UK immigration issues, please get in touch with Vanessa Ganguin.