An explanation of the UK Government’s EU Settlement Scheme

You will be aware that the new points-based immigration system came into force in the UK on 1 January 2021.

The extended deadline for EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) applications for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens who were in the UK before 11pm on 31 December is 30 June 2021. From 1 July 2021  employers are required to check whether their EU/EEA/Swiss members of staff have the right to work in the UK, including through the EUSS.

EU/EEA/Swiss citizens who were in the UK before 11pm on 31 December 2020 will be eligible for settlement status and will have to apply  through the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) by 30 June 2021, where they will be granted settled or pre-settled status. Settled status will be given to those who have lived continuously in the UK for five years and enable the holder to remain in the UK indefinitely. Pre-settled status will be given to those who do not yet have five years’ continuous residence. Individuals with pre-settled status can apply for settled status once they have accrued five years’ continuous residence. The application process can be done via any mobile device or computer.

UK based employers might find the UK Government’s EU Settlement Scheme Toolkit useful in providing support to EU/EEA/Swiss nationals and their families who need to to apply for settled or pre-settled status under the European Settlement Scheme (EUSS) by 30 June 2021. Ensure they receive the support and information they need. Remind them of the deadline for application and the consequences of not applying in time.

Irish nationals do not need to apply for settlement status to travel to or to live and work in the UK by virtue of the Common Travel Agreement (CTA).

Employees who do not have immigration status will be prevented from starting a new job or retaining their existing one. Other hostile environment controls would also apply, for instance, limited access to health care, or being prevented from renting a flat. Because the consequences of not having immigration status are severe, employers should communicate with employees in this category to remind them to apply for settlement status under the EU Settlement Scheme if they haven’t already done so and support them to do that before 30 June 2021.

If you are unsure of any of the legilsation that now applies or if you need any help with workplace or employment-related matters raised by these and other legal requirements please get in touch and one of our experienced team will be happy to advise you.