If you have non-UK EU nationals on your staff, you may already have researched details of the EU Settlement Scheme.  Here we provide a digest of the key points.

  • A pillar of membership of the EU was freedom of movement that allowed EU citizens to live and work in other EU countries. Brexit will bring that to an end in the UK.
  • To protect the rights of EU citizens already in the UK, the British Government has introduced the EU Settlement Scheme.  Any EU employees who are already working in your business will be able to stay, but they need to apply for the scheme – even if they are married to someone British.
  • There are some exceptions. Those with Irish citizenship do not need to apply, and nor do those with indefinite leave to enter the UK or indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
  • There are separate agreements for nationals from Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. These nationals will be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme from 30 March 2019.
  • The scheme will be fully open by 30 March 2019 and the deadline for applications will be 30 June 2021, or 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Those who hold EU passports can apply now.
  • There is no fee for applications to the EU Settlement Scheme.
  • Successful applications will be granted settled status or pre-settled status. Settled status will usually be granted to those who have lived in the UK for five continuous years by 31 December 2020. It will give individuals the right to apply for British citizenship. Those who have not been here for five years will be granted pre-settled status and will then need to apply for settled status when they hit the five-year mark. Both categories allow individuals to work, and give them the same rights to healthcare, education, benefits and pensions as a British citizen.
  • The scheme extends the same protections to dependants of EU citizens living in the UK.
  • The scheme will run criminality and security checks and also require proof of residency.
  • Length of residency may be established with automated HMRC checks, however applicants will also be able to submit documentary evidence, which may include a signed and dated letter from an employer confirming the period of UK-based employment.
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