Gaining Everlasting Standing for European Staff – What Employers Ought to Do
In addition to the Covid-19 headache, there are growing concerns that many European nationals do not know what to do in order to continue working in the UK, such as applying for settled status.
Research by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants earlier this month warned that one in seven EU caregivers is at risk of losing their immigrant status due to changes in rules. This indicates a worrying lack of awareness among EU workers of the need to act now to secure work status.
If your European employees do not secure this status (or pre-status) before the deadline, they risk losing their right to stay in the UK. That could be a severe blow to your business.
It is important that you as an employer know where you stand on the new immigration regulations and that you support your employees in doing what they need to do.
What do European employees need to know about securing the right status?
There is growing concern that many EU, EEA and Swiss nationals are unaware of the need to apply for settled status, with some believing they are not required to have a permanent residence card. That is not right.
If you have members of your workforce who are EU, EEA or Swiss citizens who do not yet have a permanent residence permit and would like to continue living and working in the UK after June 30, 2021, you will need to apply to the EU comparison system.
If their application is approved, they will be given either the status “Billed” or “Pre-determined” (more on this here). If they fail to secure Billed (or Pre-Done) status, they risk losing their right to stay in the UK after the 30 June 2021 deadline.
While it is an individual’s responsibility to apply for the EU comparison scheme, as an employer you should try to support them as much as possible – and for now, awareness is key:
When can you apply?
Now. The application deadline is June 20, 2021 and you must have lived in the UK by December 31, 2020.
How much is it?
Who has to apply?
Except in a few cases, your employees must apply if:
- You are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen
- You are not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen but your family member is (or is an Eligible Person in Northern Ireland).
Who doesn’t have to apply?
Your employees with EU, EEA or Swiss citizenship do not have to apply if they:
- Unlimited entry to Great Britain
- Permanent UK residence permit (usually stamped on passport or letter from home office)
- Irish citizenship (including UK and Irish “dual citizenship”)
How do you apply?
Applications are online. They can be used with any device, e.g. B. with a laptop, an Android device or an iPhone.
As part of the application process, you will need proof of:
- Your identity
- Your residence in the UK
As an employer, what do I have to do against the new immigration regulations?
- Raising your workforce’s awareness of the EU settlement system (information sheets and posters are available from gov.uk) and encouraging them to apply if they have not already done so
- Check your workforce, the nationality of your workforce (and those of your supply chain), and ensure that documentation on the right to work for everyone is in place. The current right to work checks (e.g. passport and / or ID card) applies until June 30, 2021.
- Continue to employ skilled workers from outside the UK. However, you must have applied for a sponsorship license to do this
- Continue to employ Irish nationals in any role (skilled or unskilled) with no additional visas or paperwork required
- Ask all new recruits after January 1, 2021 about their immigration status or the date they will arrive in the UK. Make sure that you are not discriminated against, for example on the basis of race, ethnicity or nationality
- Develop a process to determine the status of EU workers after June 30, 2021
- Be aware of the new immigration rules if you are recruiting from outside the UK (including EU citizens) from January 1, 2021
- Request proof of their application to the billing system. It is not necessary for an employee to inform you, the employer, that they applied for the payroll system or the result of their application. Likewise, employers do not have to check whether an employee has applied.
However, nothing prevents employers from raising awareness of the settlement application process and encouraging them to apply. You cannot ask your employees to provide proof that they have applied
- Discrimination against EU citizens. This was mentioned above, but the current guidelines of the Ministry of the Interior also state: “You are obliged not to discriminate against EU, EEA or Swiss citizens. They cannot request that they prove their status under the EU comparison system until after June 30, 2021. “
The UK’s points-based immigration system – what you need to know
On January 1, 2021, free movement ended and the UK introduced a points-based immigration system. This treats EU and non-EU citizens equally. Anyone wishing to hire outside the UK, except for Irish citizens, must apply for authorization in advance (except for EU citizens who were in the UK on December 31, 2020).
Here’s what the government says about their new approach and attitude towards the low-skilled and temporary workforce:
“The UK points-based system is designed to serve the highly skilled workforce, skilled workers, students and a range of other specialized work routes, including routes for world leaders and innovators.
We will not introduce a general route for low skilled or temporary workers. We need to shift the focus of our economy away from dependence on cheap European labor and instead focus on investing in technology and automation.
Initiatives for academics, graduates, NHS workers, and those in the agricultural sector are also suggested that will provide additional flexibility to businesses in the short term. “
As part of a points-based immigration system, everyone coming to work in the UK must meet certain requirements for which they score points. Visas are then given to those who get enough points. A total of 70 points are required to apply for a job in the UK.
Have you thought that your British people work abroad?
Since Covid-19 encourages some employees to flee to sunnier coasts in order to “work abroad” or even live permanently abroad, further complications can arise.
Most employers have failed to realize that it is not easy to allow workers to temporarily move to Spain, Cyprus or similarly sunny places of work. This is complicated in part because this issue encompasses UK and local labor laws, company law relating to the country your employee works in, personal taxation and the potential for an employee to be taxed twice.
The risks and complications vary depending on the country to which the worker wishes to emigrate. However, employers need to be very careful in creating a legal minefield for themselves as they fail to understand the potential complexities.
Immigration and work abroad have always been a complicated area of labor law and, in the simplest case, are not easy to navigate. However, advice, training, and tools are available to help you navigate these new seas.
The most important message is to train yourself as an employer, know when to ring an alarm bell in your head, and act now before you risk losing your valued staff.
Helen Jamieson is the founder and CEO of Jaluch HR & Training.
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