Brexit Your Employees Right To Work In The UK

Date Added 30.01.20

It’s been a long and complex saga, but the day when the UK finally leaves the EU is nearly upon us. On 31st January, the UK and the EU are expected to sign the withdrawal agreement, which will allow the UK to leave the EU, and negotiations into the shape of our future relationship with the EU will commence.

One thing which will be fundamentally important to employers is the rights of an individual to work in the UK. To assist with this, the Government have set up a Settlement Scheme which allows individuals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland to apply for “settled” or “pre-settled” status.

Whether a person can apply for “settled” or “pre-settled” status depends on how long they have been living continuously in the UK. If they have lived here continuously (meaning without a break of more than 6 months in any 12 month period) for a period of 5 or more years at the date they apply, then they can apply for “settled” status. If granted, the individual will have the right to remain in the UK indefinitely and may even be able to apply for citizenship at a later date. If they have been living continuously in the UK for less than 5 years at the application date, then they can apply for “pre-settled” status. This, where granted, gives the individual the right to remain in the UK for a further five years. They can then apply for “settled” status once they achieve the criteria set out above.

Brexit Your Employees Right To Work In The UK

It is important that employers ensure that all their workers who are EU, EEA or Swiss citizens have carried out the necessary steps to ensure that they are remain eligible to work in the UK after Brexit. The deadline for doing so is dependent on what happens next in the negotiations. If the UK cannot agree a deal with the EU regarding the finer points of our future relationship by 31st December 2020, then any individuals who intend to remain working in the UK must have been successful in applying to the Settlement Scheme by this date. If we do agree a future deal, then the date by which individuals will need to have received acceptance to the Scheme will be 30th June 2021. Employers should be mindful of these dates and should prepare themselves to carry out right to work checks with their employees once the applicable deadline has passed.

In the meantime, employers are encouraged to remind their employees and workers of the need to apply for settled status if they are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who is intending to remain in the UK after Brexit. This may be a difficult conversation to have for some, so try to ensure that, whilst you have the necessary conversations, you provide an informal and relaxed environment and support to any employee who needs it whilst undergoing this process.

If you need any help on how to manage these chats with your employees or workers, or advice on your obligations to ensure that an individual has the right to work, talk to Tollers and please contact Rebecca List on 01604 258558 or rebecca.list@tollers.co.uk. We’re here for you.

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