Newsflash - EU staff post Brexit

Newsflash - EU staff post Brexit

Posted  26th November 2020

EU staff post Brexit - what do you need to do? 

As you may be aware, with the end of the Brexit transition so close (31 December 2020), now is the time to help secure the future of any EU members of staff working for the school by making them aware of the requirements to apply for settled or pre settled status by 30 June 2021 if they want to continue living in the UK beyond that date.

What needs to be done?

If you have school staff members who are EU, EEA or Swiss citizens (or a member of their family members is, or an eligible person of Northern Ireland), they should be applying for settled or pre-settled status ahead of 30 June 2021. Those with indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK do not need to apply, nor do British or Irish citizens (though the latter can choose to do so).

For any new workers who arrive in the UK after 1 January 2021, a different process will apply.

What happens?

The rights and status of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK will remain the same until 30 June 2021. Therefore, if the staff member applies to the EU settlement scheme successfully, they can continue to live and work in the UK after 30 June 2021. These individuals will be given either settled status or pre settled status. This will depend how long they have been living in the UK at the time of their application and the rights will vary depending on which status they get.

Settled status applies to those who started living in the UK by 31 December 2020 and have lived in the UK for 5 continuous years (at least 6 months in any 12 month period, though some exceptions apply). Settled status means they can remain in the UK for as long as they like and can apply for British Citizenship.

Pre-settled status is when the individual does not have the requisite 5 years residence for settled status (they must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020). If granted, they can remain in the UK for a further 5 years and can apply for settled status one they have the 5 continuous years residence, before the pre settled status expires.

If the individual will reach 5 years’ continuous residence at some point by 30 June 2021, they can choose to wait to apply until they reach 5 years’ continuous residence. This means that if their application is successful, they will get settled status without having to apply for pre-settled status first. If an EU citizen does not take these steps, with effect from 1st July 2021, they will no longer have the right to live and work in the UK and could be subject to immigration enforcement action. Continuing to employ them in your school will be an offence.

Steps to take

Provided your staff members are currently living within the UK (or do so before 31 December 2020), they will have until the 30th June 2021 to apply for EU settlement. To support your employees with this process, you may wish to take the following steps:

  • Review your school workforce;
  • Identify those who may be affected by these new rules;
  • Inform your staff of the need to apply for pre-settled or settled status (if the rules apply to them). It may be advisable to inform all staff members in case you are unaware of family members for example who may be affected; and
  • Point them to the government website where they can process their application.

You are not under any obligation to inform your staff of this information and it is for the individual to apply by themselves. However, it will of course help to protect your school workforce who may otherwise be unaware of the looming deadlines. It is also important to note that there are some important boundaries as an employer you should be aware of:

  • You should not ask individuals if they have applied or what their status/the outcome of their application is as you have a duty not to discriminate against EU citizens in light of the UK’s decision to leave the EU as either a prospective or current employer;
  • You should not make an offer of employment, or continued employment, dependent on an individual having made an application;
  • You should be careful not to give advice on or interpret information on the EU Settlement Scheme provided by the government unless you are qualified to do so.