Employing EU citizens in the UK – with and without a Brexit deal
We thought it would be helpful to set out the current situation in respect of employing EU citizens in the UK with or without a Brexit deal. Whilst elements of the following could change, it is useful to have a framework to follow if your organisation is currently in this situation.
If you would like further support in respect of any employment issue relating to the following, please do not hesitate to call one of the EliAction team.
If there is a Withdrawal Agreement in place
The current position whereby the UK is subject to EU laws (including freedom of movement) remains during the transition period – that is until 31st December 2020, or it could be until the end of 2022 if the transition period is extended (as the Nov 18 draft of the Withdrawal Agreement permits).
Those living lawfully in the UK before the end of the transition (aka Implementation) period are eligible for ‘settled status’ under the UK Settlement Scheme which will be open fully by 30 March 2019 and the deadline for applying is 30th June 2021. Even those EU citizens with Permanent residence should apply for settled status. Irish citizens do not need to obtain settled status. Key points of the settlement scheme are:
- EU citizens who have been living in the UK continuously for five years will be eligible for settled status in UK law.
- EU citizens who arrived before the end of the Implementation Period, but who have not been here for five years, will be eligible for pre-settled status, enabling them to stay until they have accumulated five years, after which they may apply for settled status.
- The Withdrawal Agreement will also allow close family members who live in a different country to join an EU citizen at any time in the future under current rules, if the relationship existed before the end of the Implementation Period.
- EU citizens protected by the agreement will continue to be able to work, study and establish a business in the UK as now.
- EU citizens with settled status or pre-settled status to stay may access healthcare, pensions and other benefits and services in the UK, as they do currently.
If there is no withdrawal agreement in place:
Fundamentally this means that there would be no transition period. In December, the government issued a Policy paper on citizens’ rights in the event of a no deal Brexit.
The key points are:
- The UK will continue to run the EU Settlement Scheme for those resident in the UK by 29 March 2019 in a ‘no deal’ scenario so that EU citizens and their family members resident in the UK by 29 March 2019 will be able to work, study, and access benefits and services in the UK on the same basis after we exit the EU as they do now.
- Those here by 29 March 2019 will have until 31 December 2020 to apply for status under the scheme. Until this time, EU citizens will continue to be able to rely on their passport (as a British citizen may) or national identity card if they are asked to evidence their right to reside in the UK when, for example, applying for a job, as they do currently.
- As there would be no agreed implementation period, those EU citizens and their family members resident here by 29 March 2019 would have until 31 December 2020 to apply for a status under the EU Settlement Scheme, but with no six-month ‘grace period’ beyond this.
- EU citizens with settled status would be able to be joined in the UK by 29 March 2022, by existing close family members, such as children, spouses and partners, parents and grandparents living overseas at exit, where the relationship existed by 29 March 2019 (or where a child was born overseas after this date) and continued to exist when the family member applied. After 29 March 2022, such family members will be able to join EU citizens here by applying through the applicable UK Immigration Rules.
If you would like advice on how any of the above applies to your business, please contact one of the ELiAction team on 01494 817193 or info@ELiAction.com
In giving comment and advice in the article, we do not assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. If you have specific views which you wish to discuss, we would be pleased to assist you.