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Full roll-out of the EU Settlement Scheme

  • United Kingdom
  • Employment law
  • Global mobility and immigration

11-04-2019

The outcome of Brexit remains uncertain but the immigration position of EEA citizens living and working in the UK has been defined by the Government. If an agreement is reached on the terms for the UK to leave the European Union, all citizens of EEA countries arriving before 31st December 2020 must apply to stay permanently by 30th June 2021. Should no deal be agreed, only those EEA citizens arriving in the UK before the Brexit day would be able to make such applications. Those arriving between that date and the end of 2020 would be able to obtain a temporary working visa, valid for up to three years, only.

The programme to make applications for permanent residence, the EU Settlement Scheme, opened to all applicants on 30th March. It is now possible to apply for such status via an App (currently through android devices only, but likely to include iPhones later this year), by post or at a local Register office.

Over 50,000 applications were made on the opening weekend of the Scheme going live, bringing the total number of applications made to more than 280,000 so far. There remain many applications which have not been determined to date and some applicants who have lived in the UK for many years have not had such residence recognised, but our experience from having made many such applications is that most applicants find the process very straightforward.

The Home Office also published an updated communications toolkit for employers about the EU Settlement Scheme this week. Designed to help employers explain the EU Settlement Scheme to their employees, the toolkit includes a briefing pack, leaflets, factsheets, posters and videos. The intention of the Home Office is that such information can be shared easily by HR teams with a message to their employees about support which can be provided. Guidance and other materials about the scheme have been published in 23 of the EU’s languages.

In recent training conducted at Eversheds Sutherland with Home Office representatives, employers consistently expressed a need to be able to communicate clearly to employees about settled status. Many EEA citizens receive inconsistent or inaccurate information about this and employers reported that they frequently fundamentally misunderstand their rights in the UK after Brexit. We think the updated communications toolkit is a helpful resource for HR teams which provides official information which can address many of these concerns.

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