EU Settlement SchemePosted in : Back to Basics on 22 October 2019
In the first instalment of our latest ‘Back to Basics’ video series with A&L Goodbody, Andrew Spratt, Associate Solicitor in the A&L Goodbody Employment and Incentives team, discusses the EU Settlement Scheme with regards to the looming Brexit deadline.
Today I want to talk to you about the EU Settlement Scheme. For employers in Northern Ireland, we are hugely reliant upon migrant labour for agri-food, for hospitality, manufacturing, and healthcare sectors.
Migrant work was the real reason why we were able to get out of the recession in 2008, for those people who came to find work in this country. That changed in 2016, when the UK decided to leave the European Union. Since that vote, the effect on workers has created a great deal of uncertainty. And up to 25% of EU migrant workers have already left Northern Ireland on this basis.
With Brexit still uncertain and how that's going to look like, the UK has already opened its EU Settlement Scheme. The purpose of the scheme is that if you are an EU national and you want to remain in the UK beyond December 2021, then you must apply to this scheme.
There are going to be two categories of worker — those who already have settled status and those who are pre-settled status. Settled status means that you have already been living and working in the United Kingdom in the previous five years. And if that is the case for that worker, then there will be no limit on the period of time they can remain in the United Kingdom.
For those who are pre-settled status, those are people who have not yet reached the five-year period. What pre-settled status will allow you to do is to work up until the five-year period and then be able to make an application for settled status.
The whole process is done online and is designed to be straightforward for EU national workers.
There are three steps to undertake on an online portal.
- The first is verification by providing details of your passport and providing a copy of that, uploading it to the system.
- The second is being able to prove residency, and this can be done perhaps by providing a National Insurance number and then inputting that into the portal as well.
- The third deal is a criminality check to ensure that no serious criminals are going to be able to remain in the United Kingdom after Brexit. So minor things should not be taken into account and won't affect your application.
We're working with clients on a weekly basis, being able to assist employers being able to get ready for this scheme and being able to advise their employees. If you need additional assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us. Thank you.
The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.