EU Citizens

EU CitizensUpdated 1st November 2018. Clearly, Brexit brings huge considerations for employers.  An important consideration is staffing – in regards to the future rights of EU Citizens who are already in the UK (and business’ future access to talent).  This article from People Management is helpful, looking at:

  • EU citizens already in the UK and their right to stay – what the position is now and what might happen if there is ‘no’ deal
  • The planned digital registration system for EU citizens already in the UK and how Employers will access this information (as you will need to!). The article quotes that “The government is proposing a ‘paperless’ settled status application system for the 3.8m EU nationals already in the UK, with successful applicants being issued with online codes. Prospective employers enter these codes into the Home Office website to check an individual’s immigration status – a process that the prime minister has promised will be “as streamlined as possible”!
  • How Businesses may possibly move workers between countries after Brexit
  • The shortage of skilled workers and what is being proposed
  • And what is not currently being proposed about non-skilled workers!

The Government have introduced guidance for the Home Office staff working on the EU Citizens Settled Status Registration Scheme trial that is currently taking place.  The Home Office is seeking to recruit 4,000 EU citizens to test the process at three Liverpool universities and 12 NHS trusts in the north-west of England. You can read more in this Guardian article here.

Yesterday the Scottish Government announced (in their programme for next year) that “ScotGov will meet settled status fees for EU citizens working in public services”,

Let’s hope for some clarity soon (in every sense!).  You can read about workplace rights (for all citizens working in the UK) if there is no-deal here.

On Tuesday 30th October 2018 the Immigration Minister Caroline Noakes gave worrying evidence to the Home Affairs Committee when she said:

Employers will be expected to check whether EU nationals have the right to work in the UK if there is a no deal Brexit, even though it will be almost impossible to assess this, and the nature of the checks remain unknown.

“If somebody hasn’t been here prior to the end of March next year, employers will have to make sure they go through adequately rigorous checks to evidence somebody’s right to work”

The following is a quote from an article in The Guardian: “This appears to contradict a press briefing this summer in which the Home Office indicated it would not require employers to make immigration checks on staff who are EU citizens.

When questioned by MPs, Nokes conceded that it would be difficult for employers to make such checks, given that longstanding residents from EU member states had a guaranteed two-year period to go through the “settled status” programme, proving their right to remain and to work.

When asked how employers could be expected to make the checks, Nokes said she did not know, and would have to write to the committee later.”

However, on 31st October 2018, Sajid Javid, Home Secretary (Nokes’ boss) said that if there is a no deal Brexit, employers hiring EU nationals won’t be expected to check when they entered the country.  He told ITV’s Peston programme that

We’ve just got to be practical.  If there was a no deal, we wont’ be able to immediately distinguish between those Europeans that were already here before March 29th (2019), and those who came after – and therefore as a result I wouldn’t expect employers to do anything different than they do today….. There will need to be some kind of sensible transition period.

The campaign group that represents EU nationals living in the UK, the3million, said it had received the same message from the Home Office.