The UK left the EU on 31st
January 2020. This will not only impact on a business’ ability to recruit EU staff going forward but it will also restrict the availability of EU nationals to freely enter the UK to live and work as well as restricting UK nationals from living and working in the EU.
Currently we are in a transition period which will end on 31st
December 2020. During this transition period, the current status quo will be maintained with free movement of EU workers to the UK and UK workers to the EU. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there had been suggestions that this transition period should be extended to allow business more time to prepare, however, the UK government’s position currently is that it will not be extended and that the transition period will end on 31st
In terms of the treatment of EU nationals who are already living and working in the UK, they will have until 30th
June 2021 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to ensure that they can continue living and working in the UK. Under this free scheme, EU nationals residing in the UK before 31st
December 2020 will be eligible for “settled” status when they have been continuously resident for five years or more. This will give them the right to live and work in the UK indefinitely. Those EU nationals who do not have five years’ continuous residence can apply for “pre-settled” status, giving them the right to remain in the UK until they have accrued the full five years’ residence, at which point they can apply for settled status. It is advisable for all businesses who employ EU nationals to encourage them to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme so that they can safeguard their immigration status and continue to live and work in the UK.
For organisations wishing to take on EU nationals from 1st
January 2021, the government has confirmed that such individuals will be subject to the same immigration controls as those wishing to come to the UK from outside the EU (i.e. there will be no special treatment for EU citizens). The regime currently in place is the points based system and, whilst there are a some important changes, in essence from 1st
January 2021 this scheme will be extended to cover both EU and non-EU workers.
Under the points based system employers need to have a sponsor license if they wish to employ workers from overseas. This will mean that those employers who are not already a sponsor license holder will need to apply for a sponsor licence if they wish to hire workers from outside the UK from 1st
For further details as to how the points based system will work from 1st
January 2021 please see our article here
For more information please contact either Lynne Adams
or Gemma Hill