A brief overview
It is worth stating at the outset the current position of the government in respect of EU staff. It is currently the case that EU nationals have free movement within Europe and therefore the UK. Employees that are European nationals should have provided you with copies of their identification at the outset of their employment, and you should have this on their file. This should be taken in accordance with the Home Office guidance.
Why are these documents important?
Having these documents on file will assist you in identifying at the outset the employees that will be vulnerable to changes in the law. Please note that there are no indications that the law in respect of nationals of non-EU citizens will change, so whilst you should retain copies of leave to remain and leave to enter documents for non-EU nationals in accordance with the guidance above, there are no further applications that nationals of non-EU countries need to make.
What will happen with EU nationals?
The current position in respect of EU nationals is that whilst they currently have free movement within Europe, this will change for new arrivals in the near future. There is a system in place currently which allows for European nationals to make an application under Appendix EU of the Immigration Rules, which will evidence their right to be and to work in the UK. It is strongly advised that you strongly advise your European national employees to make this application!
How to secure your right to remain?
Settled status applications are for European nationals who have been in the UK for five years or more. Pre-settled status applications are for those who have been in the UK for under five years. Both of these applications can be made now. These applications are also extremely straightforward and can now be made on an iPhone or Android phone. The application requires only that applicants upload their photograph and identification and answer a few basic questions such as their name, date of birth, details of any criminality and their National Insurance Number. The application process is likely to take under thirty minutes for most applicants. Subsequently, applicants may be asked to submit further documents to evidence their residence where the Home Office is unable to track the applicant’s National Insurance number effectively.
What are the next steps?
The next step is really to keep up to date on the news. There are likely to be changes following the end of the transitional period in December 2020 depending on whether this period is extended or not. It is therefore crucial as an employer to keep a close watch on developments in the law, so they are aware at what point they are unable to take on European nationals without more evidence than just evidence of their nationality.
What can’t you do?
It is worth noting that you cannot currently force your employees to register using the scheme. Your European employees currently have rights to free movement and attempting to force is likely to breach employment legislation.
What does Westkin Associates do?
Westkin Associates offer a service where we visit employers, including university institutions, to provide guidance on the application process for eligible applicants. It is well worth applicants who can apply, applying now where there is no need to demonstrate that they are not a ‘new arrival’. Currently, an application for pre-settled status is likely to be granted, even when there is no evidence of residence in the UK; however, this is unlikely to be the case when it becomes necessary to distinguish between new arrivals and those that were residing in the UK prior to the cut off point. It is, therefore, in your employee’s interests to apply sooner, rather than later.
Over 41,000 satisfied clients
Westkin Associates has worked with over 41,000 individuals and businesses ranging from small start-ups to large multinational corporations. Beyond providing excellent service, we ensure that at every step of the application, you fully understand the process.