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Current and future EU Staff and the self-employed

EU Citizens in the UK pre-December 2020

For Staff

If you are an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen already resident in the UK, have you applied to the Settled Status Scheme? (Irish citizens do not need to apply for settled status). You can see more details on the settled status scheme and how to apply on the GOV.UK website. If you are an Irish citizen you will not need to apply for the Settled Status scheme as the Government has committed to honouring the Common Travel Area. There is no cost attached to applying for the settled status scheme.
 

The UK Government will honour the right of those who obtain settled status under the scheme to be able to leave the country for up to five consecutive years without losing their right to return. EU citizens with settled status will be able to be joined by future spouses and partners (where the relationship was established after exit) and other dependent relatives until 31 December 2020, after which point the UK Immigration Rules would apply to such family reunion.

For Employers

If you have staff who are EU/EEA/Swiss citizens and are already resident in the UK, the Government has confirmed the rights of EEA citizens working and living in the UK before the point at which we exit the EU, will be protected. This is effectively a unilateral commitment. Settlement rights (indefinite leave to remain) in the UK can be achieved through applying for the Settled Status Scheme.

The UK Government is making the commitment that, once granted, status under the scheme is secure. In the event of a no deal scenario, the UK will continue to run the EU Settlement Scheme for those lawfully resident in the UK by 31 October 2019. This means that any EEA citizen living in the UK by 31 January 2020 will be eligible to apply to this scheme, securing their status in UK law. They will have until 31 January 2020 to apply for status under the scheme. Irish citizens will not need to apply for the Settled Status scheme as the Government has committed to honouring the Common Travel Area.

The UK Government will honour the right of those who obtain settled status under the scheme to be able to leave the country for up to five consecutive years without losing their right to return. EU citizens with settled status will be able to be joined by future spouses and partners (where the relationship was established after exit) and other dependent relatives until 31 December 2020, after which point the UK Immigration Rules would apply to such family reunion

Employers must accept EU citizens passport or national identify card when asking prospective employees for evidence of their right to reside in the UK until 31 December 2020 

Please see more details on the settled status scheme including how to apply.

For EU Citizens arriving in the UK post 31 October 2019

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens can continue to come to the UK for the purposes of short term visits for up to three months without the need for a visa/work permit.

EU/EEA and Swiss citizens will be able to live, work and study in the UK as they do now until 31 December 2020. After 31 January 2020, they will need to apply for a new status called European Temporary Leave to Remain (TLR) if they want to stay in the UK after the 31st of December 2020. The deadline for applications will be 31 December 2020. An individual will not be eligible for Euro TLR they are a serious or persistent criminal or a threat to national security. Irish citizens do not need to apply to stay in the UK, including after 31 December 2020, they will continue to have the right to enter, live, work and study in the UK under Common Travel Area arrangements.

The application for European Temporary Leave to Remain will be free of charge and the application will be available to complete online. This temporary digital immigration status will allow an individual to stay in the UK for 36 months from the date it is granted – assuming their application is successful.

In terms of right to work checks, employers need to be aware of the following:

Until 31 December 2020: EU/EEA and Swiss citizens will be able to prove their right to work and rent property using their EU passport or identity card. An individual can also choose to use their digital status to show that they have European temporary leave to remain.

From January 2021: It will be necessary for EU/EEA and Swiss citizens to prove their rights by using the digital status provided via successfully applying for European Temporary Leave to Remain. European TLR will enable them to work in the UK, use the NHS, enrol in education or continuing studying and access public funds individuals are eligible for including benefits and pensions as well as travel in and out of the UK. They may also be able to apply under the future immigration system.

Non-EU, EEA or Swiss close family members of EU, EEA or Swiss citizens will be able to apply for European TLR. Close family members are spouses, partners and dependent children under 18.They will be able to apply once their EU, EEA or Swiss citizen family member has applied for European TLR. They will apply in the same way as EU, EEA and Swiss citizens but will need to provide additional information.

Immigration from the EU in the longer term

The previous administration published a White Paper in December 2018 outlining proposals for a non preferential immigration system based on skills and employer sponsorship system. Essentially, this is a single immigration system that treats EU countries the same as non EU countries.

The UK is also looking to introducing e-gate visa checks for tourists and visitors coming to the country for short stay business trips from all low risk countries. The new administration had indicated its commitment to an Australian points based system and has asked the Migration Advisory Committee to look further at this option. It is our assumption that such a system would need to be phased in and therefore it is possible that freedom of movement or something very close to this would effectively continue in the short term, in the event of a no deal scenario, as there would not be sufficient time to put a new immigration system in place at the point at which we leave the EU.