What do you need to do now? Head of immigration Sacha Schoenfeld provides guidance
Given the recent change in Prime Minister, the increased likelihood of a no deal Brexit on 31 October and the recent announcement that the Government intends free movement of EU citizens to end on 1 November 2019, it is more important than ever to ensure that your EU national and EU national family member employees have taken the required steps to confirm their status in the UK.
We strongly recommend that any EU national or EU national family members you employ and who are in the UK now apply under the EU Settlement Scheme as soon as possible and before 31 October to avoid any complications with their status once the UK leaves the EU. Those who have been in the UK for more than five years should apply for Settled Status, those with less than five years, Pre-Settled Status. Employers are advised to write to affected employees to notify them of the relevant deadlines and encourage them to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme.
The rights of EEA nationals and their family members resident in the UK prior to exit day will not change – they remain eligible to apply for immigration permission under the EU Settlement Scheme until 31/12/20. EEA nationals who are in the UK and have yet to apply for status under the Scheme would be well advised to accelerate their plans to apply before the inevitable rush before 31 October.
The Government has reassured EU nationals residing in the UK who may be overseas on exit day that they will be allowed to re-enter and will remain eligible to apply under the Scheme, but the logistics of how they will do this and what checks will be carried out at that time remain unclear. Similarly, amendments or alterations to an employer’s right to work checks and how these may be affected by a no-deal Brexit are yet to be clarified, so watch this space.