Irwin Mitchell's Head Of Immigration Explains What Businesses Can Do To Prepare
Britain’s exit from the EU will have an impact on those workers from overseas that choose to live and work in the UK. The following article by Philip Barth, Irwin Mitchell’s Head of Immigration, looks at a number of key issues that businesses and individuals need to consider.
Under current rules, EEA and Swiss employees, and their family members, will need to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme to secure their right to live and work in the UK. They can apply for Settled Status if they have been continuously resident for five years; or for Pre-Settled Status if they are short of the required five-year continuous residence, which will allow them to stay for up to five years by when they will be eligible for Settled Status.
Are there time limits for them to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme?
If there is no deal then EEA and Swiss employees will have until 31 December 2020 to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme, provided that they were in the UK before exit and can evidence this.
If there is a deal then the deadline will be the date specified in the Withdrawal Agreement.
Should you do anything now?
We recommend that you encourage any EEA and Swiss employees to apply for Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status at the earliest opportunity. This will enable them to travel in and out of the UK after exit without worry and to demonstrate their right to work.
There are some circumstances where it might be better for them to apply for a document certifying permanent residence (PR) under free movement regulations.
Many employers are providing support to their EEA and Swiss employees such as running seminars for staff, supporting applications where appropriate and analysing the composition of the workforce to identify those who will need alternative post exit solutions.
What about those who arrive after exit day?
Under the current UK Immigration Rules, EEA and Swiss nationals not resident in the UK by the exit date – which is yet to be determined – would be free to enter to work, study, or visit until 31 December 2020, subject to a criminal record check.
If they wish to remain in the UK beyond that date, they must apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain (Euro TLR). They will be granted leave for a period of three years, starting from the date the leave is granted. Euro TLR status is not renewable or extendable beyond three years and EEA/Swiss nationals will therefore need to qualify under a different immigration category (or leave the UK) at the end of the three year period.
Expert Opinion“With all the continuing uncertainty over the outcome of the general election and the fate of Brexit, it is becoming increasingly advisable to ensure that your staff all have the right to work and that your immigration compliance processes are in order and up to date.” Philip Barth - Partner