European citizens have been able to come to the UK and work without restrictions or requiring any specific permits or visas. In fact the UK economy has relied on European migrant workers to fill skills shortages especially in industries such as tourism.
However, employers should be aware that this is changing so that European Citizens who wish to continue to live and work in the UK will need to apply (together with any family members) under the new EU Settlement Scheme for settled status in the UK.
This includes all EU, EEA and Swiss Citizens as well as those of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
Employers should therefore be prudent and carry out a check as to the nationalities of their employees and advise any such European Citizens, that they currently employ, that they should apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if they wish to live and continue to work in the UK on or after June 2021. Whilst most European citizens in the UK are on slightly ‘high alert’ due to Brexit, they may not be aware of steps they need to take to protect their future in the UK.
Such individuals would be advised to apply as soon as possible as, although the applications are free of charge, it is likely to be a lengthy process given the number of applications the UK Border Agency is likely to receive from European Citizens.
Once European citizen employees apply under the EU Settlement Scheme they will either receive a Settled Status (those who started living in the UK by 31st December 2020 and have lived in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years) or a Pre-settled Status (those who started living in the UK by 31st December 2020 but not continuously for a 5 year period). The latter category can apply for Settled Status once they have been in the UK for 5 continuous years.
Once such individuals have the relevant status they will be permitted to work in the UK, use the NHS, enrol in education and travel in and out of the UK, etc.
Employers can signpost their employees to www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families where they can find additional information.
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