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  • Helen Manson

What does the EU Settlement Scheme mean for Employers?


After months of uncertainty for both employers and employees, the government has confirmed the employment status of EU nationals arriving in the UK will not change until at least 2021 regardless of a deal or no-deal Brexit.

What is the EU Settlement Scheme?

The EU Settlement Scheme will be phased in later this year, and will gradually open more widely until it is fully open by the end of March 2019.

If an individual has been a resident in the UK for more then 5 years by 31 December 2020, they will be eligible for settled status.

If an individual has been resident in the UK for less than 5 years by 31 December 2020, they will be eligible for pre-settled status.

Getting settled status or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme will mean individuals may continue to live and work in the UK after 31 December 2020.

If EU citizens wish to remain in the UK beyond 31 December 2020, they and their close family members will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Individuals who are resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 will have until 30 June 2021 to make an application. Their rights will remain unchanged until then, provided they were resident in the UK by 31 December 2020. There is no quota for applications.

Applications will be voluntary until 31 December 2020 at which point applications will become mandatory.

What does the EU Settlement Scheme mean for Employers?

  • Employers have a duty not to discriminate against EU citizens in light of the UK’s decision to leave the EU as both a prospective and current employer.

  • Current ‘right to work’ checks (e.g. EU passport and/or national ID card) apply until the end of 2020. There will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK until 2021.

  • Employers are not expected to pay/support the cost of the EU Settlement Scheme application for EU citizen employees. Employers are welcome to do so at their discretion.

  • There is no legal obligation for Employers to communicate the EU Settlement Scheme, however they may wish to inform their Employees of the information the Government is providing.

  • Employers do not have to interpret information provided by the Government and must be careful not to provide immigration advice.


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