Is your business ready for Settled Status after Brexit?

Regardless of whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal, all EEA nationals (other than Irish and those with dual British nationality) must act to secure their long- term right to stay in the country.

If the deal is agreed, free movement for EEA nationals continues until 31 December 2020. Any EEA national residing in the UK by then may stay long term provided they apply for settled or pre-settled status under the EU settlement scheme by 30 June 2021.

Anyone residing in the UK for less than five continuous years must first apply for pre-settled status. After residing in the UK for the five-year period, they must apply for settled status. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, EEA nationals residing in the UK on the date the country leaves (the Brexit date) can remain but must apply for settled or pre-settled status by 31 December 2020.

In the event of a no-deal, any EEA national coming to live in the UK after Brexit date but before 1 January 2021 would not need a visa but may only remain for three months. To remain longer, they must apply for temporary European leave, which is valid for three years. They would either need to leave the UK after three years or apply under the immigration rules at the time.  The most significant changes for employers will come into effect from 1 January 2021, when EEA nationals will no longer have preferential access to the labour market.

Businesses should consider taking action, including:

Look for updated guidance on immigration issues as the deadlines may change following the recent delay to Brexit.
Actively raise awareness in the workforce about the need to apply under the EU settlement scheme by the deadline
Undertake full right to work checks on all employees shortly before the relevant deadline, to ensure they will still have the right to work in the UK.

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