Brexit - what the future is likely to look like: Part 1: Transition Period
Now that the Conservative Party Conference has concluded and recently the Migration Advisory Committee published their report, we now have a clearer picture of what the immigration system is likely to look like after we leave the EU.
Over the course of the next 5 weeks, we will update you through a series of articles. The first deals with the transition period.
We know that there is to be a transition period in place after Brexit Day (29th March 2019), lasting until 31st December 2020. During the transition period, EU Nationals and their family members will be able to live and work in the UK for the most part on the same basis as they do now. During that period, EU Nationals and their Family Members who have not obtained British citizenship will need to apply under UK law for a document which confirms that their status in the UK is either “settled” or “pre-settled”. They must apply before 30th June 2021 otherwise they will be unlawfully residing in the UK. This is regardless of whether they have a registration certificate or a permanent resident document which is issued under EU law.
EU Nationals and their family members who have been living in the UK for at least 5 years, will be able to apply for settled status which would mean that they are a permanent resident in the UK and free from immigration restrictions. After holding this status for one year then they could apply for British Citizenship should they desire.
EU Nationals and their family members who have been living in the UK for less than 5 years will be able to apply for pre-settled status and will not be subject to any new visa regime that maybe in place. After 5 years of living in the UK they can make an application for settled status.
Under EU laws, if an EU National is exercising their treaty rights as a student or a self-sufficient person e.g., those who are self-employed, then they must have comprehensive sickness insurance cover. A lot of EU Nationals do not know about this until such time as they apply for permanent status. The Home Office has made it clear that should an individual apply for settled status or pre-settled status then the EU Nationals will not be required to provide proof of holding such a comprehensive sickness insurance even if it was a requirement whilst the UK remained part of the EU.
It is not automatic
Applying for settled status or pre-settled status is not automatic. The EU Nationals and their family members must apply for either a settled or pre-settled status.
Irish Citizens will not be required to apply under the new scheme, however their EU National family members will be required to apply under the new scheme.
The government has said that applying for either a settled or pre-settled status will be “simple and straight forward” with EU Nationals and their family members being required to evidence three key requirements:
- 1.Their identity
- 2.Their UK residency and
- 3.That they do not have any serious criminal convictions
The system is currently being tested out and will hopefully be launched very soon.
So, as a Business what can you do? One of the key things that can be done is to carry out an audit to see whether any of the foreign workers employed by the business are EU Nationals, and if so, have they applied for a settled or non-settled status. Once this has been done, evidence of (a) their application and (b) the decision should be retained on the employee file so that you don’t fall into any traps of employing unlawful people. At Lupton Fawcett we can help you with carrying out this audit or even assist employees and their family members applying for settled and pre-settled status. We offer audits on a fixed fee system and can tailor a package which suits your organisation.
Alternatively, you may wish to send your HR personnel on an Immigration Training Course to learn more about how to be compliant. Details of our training courses can be found here with courses launching in the next few months.
Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.