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Post-Brexit immigration and the end of the EU Settlement Scheme - what has changed for employers?

 

Wednesday 30th June is the deadline for the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) and how we employ EU/ EEA citizens is having to change from this date.

Following Brexit and the end of free movement, any EU Citizens who arrived in the UK after the 30th December 2020 will already have been subject to the new UK Points Based System, but those who arrived before that date have been asked to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. It has recently been confirmed that there will be no extension to the EU Settlement Scheme, so it is important that all employers understand what they need to do moving forwards.

What do I need to do with any current employees?

You do not need to conduct any retrospective checks for existing employees. Current employees will hopefully have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme and will receive either ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status. Pre-settled status means that a person has applied for settled status and has the right to remain in the UK for 5 years from receiving their “pre-settled status” notification.

What do I need to do with any future employees?

The UK has introduced a new Points Based Immigration System that treats all applicants the same way, no matter where they are from. All future employees, including those from the EU, need to have their Right to Work checked in the same way.

Recruiting from overseas

Employers will now only be able to recruit from abroad if they have a sponsor license. “Skilled workers” can be recruited by a Home Office licensed sponsor, they will have a good understanding and use of the English language and must earn over £25,600. A Health and Care Visa may be an option for practices if the applicant meets the “skilled worker” criteria.

Checking EU/ EEA Applicants’ Right to Work

Checking applicants’ right to work correctly prior to employment gives you a statutory excuse should that person be found to be working illegally. This means that following the recommended right to work checks will ensure your practice is not liable for a civil penalty if an illegal worker is found in your employment.

Right to work checks can be done either manually or online at gov.uk.

Online:  The applicant needs to access their own details online and generate a “share code”. They should then provide the practice with this code. This share code is valid for 30 days and will show the applicants’ status under the EU Settlement Scheme if they arrived in the UK prior to 30th December 2020. The website for the applicant to access their details is available here.  If the applicant has settled status, this means they have a continuous right to work in the UK. You must then check the identification of the applicant to ensure they are who they say they are and make a record that the check has taken place. Further guidance on the online check is available here.

There are a few circumstances where it won’t be possible to use the online service:

  • Frontier Worker permits
  • Service Provider of Switzerland visas
  • Outstanding applications to UK EUSS
  • Outstanding applications to Crown Dependency EUSS
  • EEA citizens with Indefinite Leave to Enter/Remain
  • Points-Based System visas

Due to a significant back log, you are most likely to come across applicants that have applied to the EUSS but not yet received a decision. Those applicants can work in the UK up until they receive their decision. Prior to their application being determined, you can accept their Certificate of Application or their notification of their application email.

Information on how to deal with all of the above can be found here.

Manual: The list of acceptable documents for manual checks has been updated for use from the 1st July. Click here for an up to date copy.

If you are an FPM Member and need help in your practice with any Right to Work queries, contact the HR Helpline at hrhelp@firstpracticemanagement.co.uk for personalised support from an HR Specialist.


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