Julie Duane, Legal Counsel at CG Professional.
The government have announced that they need approximately 3.5 million EU citizens to apply through the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). This is on the premise that 2 in 3 EU citizens in the UK are currently working in the UK and that retaining an EU talent is a priority of businesses in order to help them continue to grow and strive.
What is the EUSS?
The EUSS Scheme entitles EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members resident in the UK to obtain the status they will need following Brexit. This will mean that individuals who satisfy the eligibility criteria will continue to be eligible for public services, public funds, pensions and British citizenship. The idea of the scheme is that it is meant to be user-friendly and relatively simple to use in order to grant status.
Who needs to apply?
Individuals who may wish to consider applying include EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their non-EU family members. Where individuals are looking to continue to reside in the UK and want to stay post-Brexit then this is a scheme that they should consider in order to provide them with a UK permanent residence document. Ultimately the responsibility of applying for the scheme will rest with the individuals themselves.
How and when can individuals apply?
It is a free online application process and involves a three-step process and will determine whether an individual will be granted pre-settled or settled status. If the UK leaves Europe without a deal, citizens will need to apply by the 31 December 2020 and be resident by the day of leave. If, however, we leave with a deal then citizens will need to apply by 30 June 2021.
As part of the application process, individuals will need to be able to show proof of identity such a passport or national identity card, proof of residence including their National Insurance number and be prepared to declare any criminal convictions via a criminality check.
Settled or pre-settled status
- Been resident in the UK for less than five years;
- can stay in the UK for a period of five years until they are eligible for settled status; and
- secure digital status can be viewed and shared online. Non-EEA citizens also are issued with a biometric residence card if they don’t have one.
- Been in the UK for more than five years;
- there is no time limit on how long they could stay in the UK and they can then apply for British citizenship (if eligible), and
- secure digital status can be viewed and shared online. Non-EEA citizens will also be issued with a biometric residence card if they don’t already have one.
What should employers be doing?
- Until a new system is introduced employers should continue to carry out the relevant right to work check on EU, EA and Swiss citizens;
- Employers can continue to accept EU, EA and swiss passports, national identity cards as evidence of rights to work;
- those who have a digital status may choose to rely on that status by using the online service, but it is not mandatory to do so. You could also assist in helping signpost information from the government to employees; and
- Use the toolkit that has been provided by the government to increase awareness of the scheme among the employees.
What shouldn’t employers do?
- Monitor whether staff have applied to the scheme or make retrospective status checks on current employees;
- Discriminate against EU citizens in light of the UK’s decision to leave the EU; or
- Feel obliged to interpret information for employees provided by the government or provide immigration advice.
If you have any questions regarding the content of this article or would like to speak to a member of the CG team about another matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.