If an employee has applied to the EU Settlement Scheme and needs help or information about their application, they should contact the EU Settlement Resolution Centre.
As an employer, you may have questions about what Brexit means for you. One of the key queries facing businesses is the uncertainty over recruiting and retaining staff, especially if you employ staff from the European Union (EU).
The UK has left the EU and there is now a transition period until the end of 2020 while the UK and EU negotiate additional arrangements. The current rules for employing people will continue to apply during the transition period. Employers can take a number of practical steps and find support to prepare for for new rules that will take effect from 1 January 2021.
Which employees will Brexit affect?
Identify who, in your business, may be affected by the UK leaving the EU, such as:
- workers from other EU countries
- workers that commute from the Republic of Ireland to work in your business
- workers that are UK nationals but have family members from another EU country - eg a spouse or partner
- students from another EU country working in your business - eg completing a scholarship or student placement
Right to work checks
There will be no change to the way EU, EEA and Swiss citizens prove their right to work until 1 January 2021. Employers should conduct right to work checks on EU, EEA and Swiss citizens in the same way as now until 1 January 2021.
You have a duty not to discriminate against EU, EEA or Swiss citizens. You cannot require them to show you their status under the EU Settlement Scheme until 1 January 2021.
Irish citizens will continue to have the right to work in the UK and prove their right to work as they do now, for example by using their passport.
EU Settlement Scheme: Settled status for EU citizens and their families
The UK Government has developed the EU Settlement Scheme for EU citizens living in the UK to apply for settled status for themselves and their family. Getting settled status means you can continue to live and work in the UK for as long as you like. You will not need to apply if you’re an Irish citizen or have indefinite leave to remain, but your family members from outside the UK and Ireland will. See EU Settlement Scheme: Helping EU workers apply to stay in Northern Ireland after Brexit.
The EU Settlement Scheme application deadline is 30 June 2021. Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
Employer toolkit: EU Settlement Scheme
The EU Settlement Scheme: employer toolkit contains relevant materials for you to provide clear and accurate information to the EU citizens and family members you employ, including:
- template letter to EU citizen staff
- presentation on the EU Settlement Scheme
- factsheet on the EU Settlement Scheme
- leaflet on the EU Settlement Scheme
- poster on the EU Settlement Scheme
- translated materials on the EU Settlement Scheme
These can be downloaded and used in the workplace to raise awareness for staff that may be affected.
Applying for skilled or unskilled-work visas
There will be a new process for EU citizens arriving in the UK before 31 December 2020. From 1 January 2021, a new skills-based immigration system will launch. For non-EU nationals, EU Exit will not affect the application process for work visas.
How can employers prepare during the Brexit transition period
- Scenario plan by looking at example case studies: EU citizens’ rights in the UK.
- Keep updated on Brexit transition developments including:
- Speak to your employees about the challenges of Brexit. Let them know you are aware of the issues and are looking at ways to address them. If employees know they are valued and supported, this will help increase their loyalty to you. See build effective relationships with your employees.
- Retain skills - to avoid losing vital skills and knowledge if a staff member leaves, you may want to consider cross-skilling employees so that key skills and business knowledge are spread throughout your workforce. Sharing knowledge in your business.
- Inform employees - provide your employees with support and guidance on:
- Applying for UK permanent residence for EU citizens.
- Applying for dual citizenship or dual nationality - ie you can be a British citizen and a citizen of another country. However, you should note that some countries don’t allow dual citizenship so employees should check with their embassy in the UK to see if their home country allows dual citizenship.
- How to become a British citizen.
- EU Settlement Scheme: employer toolkit equips employers with the right tools and information to support EU citizens and their families on the EU Settlement Scheme.
- Avoid discrimination - as an employer, it is unlawful to discriminate and any support you offer must be made available to all employees in your business whether they are UK citizens, EU nationals or from outside the EU. Prevent discrimination and value diversity.
- Tools to help employers - InterTradeIreland’s Brexit guidance can help with employment issues such as recruitment, cross-border commuters, rights to permanent work and seasonal workers.