As we are all aware, the UK will have left the EU on the 1st January 2021. This will have implications for anyone that wants to work in the UK and for employers that wish to engage anyone in work who is from outside the UK.
From 1st January 2021, the UK is introducing a new points-based immigration system and employers will need to have a sponsor licence to recruit any worker from outside the UK, including EU, EEA and Swiss citizens. However, anyone currently living in the UK from the EU, EEA or are Swiss Citizens has until 30th June 2021 to apply for Settled or Pre-Settled status. As an employer you will not be required to obtain a sponsor licence for the employment of these particular workers during this 6-month period.
What is Settled Status?
Settled Status is normally available to those people who started living in the UK for 5 continuous years before 31st December 2020. Continuous generally means at least six months in any 12-month period for each of the five years.
What is Pre-Settled Status?
This is for those people who do not have 5 years’ continuous residence as at the 31st December 2020. They can remain in the UK for 5 years from the date of achieving pre-settled status and can then apply to change this to settled status once they’ve got 5 years’ continuous residence but must do this before their pre-settled status expires.
Obtaining Settled or Pre-Settled Status, will entitle them to:
- Work in the UK
- Use the NHS for free, subject to eligibility
- Enrol in education or continue studying
- Access public funds such as benefits and pensions, subject to eligibility
- Travel in and out of the UK
The application process can be completed online or by post and is free, however due to COVID-19, applications are taking longer to process.
Therefore, if you currently employ workers from the EU, EEA or are Swiss Citizens, you should be actively discussing the intentions of these workers. If they fail to apply for settled or pre-settled status, they will not be able to remain in the UK and you will not be able to legally employ them after 30th June 2021 without obtaining a relevant visa.
You can support your workers by making sure they have the relevant documents to make their applications. Perhaps, find them a co-worker who speaks their language and can help guide them through the process. Support on a one-to-one basis will be invaluable and you may be able to overcome what turns out to be a small issue but is one that is seen by your worker as a significant barrier.
If there are any queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the Alcumus PSM HR team for assistance on 01484 439 930 or email [email protected]
Alcumus PSM (People & Safety Management) specialises in human resources (HR) and health and safety (H&S) consulting for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Written by Marie-Clare Swallow, Senior HR Consultant