Insights

FAQ – EU employees coming to work in the UK

by | 14 Mar 2019

The EU Settlement Scheme has been agreed between the UK Government and the EU. There is now an agreed system in place where these individuals can regularise their status in the UK thereby providing stability and continuity. A system is being introduced whereby EU nationals that have been in the UK can either apply for settled status (permanent residence) or pre-settled status (leading to permanent residence).

Although it is described by the Home Office as ‘straightforward’, we have received a number of questions from clients. To help clarify the information, we have produced this FAQ that we hope you find helpful.

When can EU citizens apply for settled status?

The EU settlement scheme will be fully open by March 2019. The deadline to apply is 30 June 2021 or 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

What status would I be given if I have completed more than five years in the UK?

You will be given ‘settled’ status. The same will apply to your family members if they have also completed the same amount of time in the UK. You must not have spent more than six months in any 12 month period outside the UK to be eligible.

Can I be absent from the UK once I have settled status?

Yes, you can be absent from the UK for up to five years once granted.

What status would I be given if I have completed less than five years in the UK?

You will be given ‘pre-settled’ status. The same will apply to your family members if they have also completed the same amount of time in the UK.

What is the maximum absence I can have out of the UK to be eligible for settled status?

You must not have had more than six months absence in any 12 month period over the qualifying five year period, with the exception of one period of absence of up to 12 months in exceptional circumstances.

I currently have indefinite leave to remain in the UK – do I need to apply for settled status?

No, you are not required to apply for settled status but you cannot have more than two years absence in a row outside the UK otherwise you will lose this status. You can however ‘switch’ to settled status which would then allow you to leave the UK for up to five years without losing your status.

I arrived in the UK and started working before 29 March 2019. Can I stay once the UK leaves the EU?

Yes. You are able to stay in the UK and apply for ‘pre-settled’ status. Once you have accumulated five years you can apply for your ‘settled’ status.

I was previously in the UK for five years and left. What period can I rely on?

You can apply on the previous block period of five years you were in the UK.

What is the cost for the application?

From 29 March 2019 there will be no cost for the scheme and any applicants that had applied during the pilot phases will be refunded any fee payment in due course by the Home Office.

Do all EU nationals need to be in the UK to apply or can they apply from overseas?

In time, you can apply from overseas as long as you can demonstrate residence in the UK for the stated period by providing the required documents i.e. bank statements and tax records.

What happens if HMRC do not hold records for part of the period I have been in the UK?

If the Home Office require any further information from you they will contact you and give you the opportunity to provide additional evidence e.g. annual bank statement, phone records, council tax statements etc.

I work and/or travel overseas for work for my employer. Will this affect my application?

You do need to be in the UK for six months in any year and not be absent more than a total of two years in the five year period. Exceptions may apply. If you are resident in the UK, paid, is your main place of work and return to the UK once a week/month.

I have lived in the UK since 2005 and have a permanent residence card. What are my options?

You will be eligible to apply for settled status because you already have a permanent resident document.

What criminal checks will be done?

You will be asked to provide details of any convictions. Based on entries, checks will be conducted on a case-by-case basis and a decision will be made based on the severity of the crime.

I now qualify for permanent residence in the UK. Shall I apply for it now before Brexit?

You can apply under the pilot phase right now if you hold a biometric passport; otherwise it is advisable to apply when the new scheme is available unless you wish to apply for British citizenship before the new settled status scheme is available.

What is the deadline to apply for the new status in the UK?

The final pilot phase opened to EU nationals on 21 January 2019 and you can apply if you hold a biometric passport or a biometric residence card or national ID card. The scheme will be fully open from 29 March 2019 and the deadline for applications is 30 June 2021 or 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Do I need to apply?

Yes, all EU citizens and family members residing in the UK will be required to obtain pre-settled or settled status once the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019. The status will confirm your right of residence in the UK and you will be able to prove this to the UK authorities, police, employers, bank and landlords.

How do family members apply for settled and pre-settled status?

Family members can also apply for settled or pre-settled status via the online system now if they have a biometric passport or biometric residence card, OR a family member of someone from the EU and you have a residence card with a biometric chip and ‘EU right to reside’ on the back. Otherwise, they should wait until the scheme is fully open from 29 March 2019.

My spouse is a British citizen. What is my position?

You can either apply for a family permit from overseas and/or pre-settled/settled status.

What happens in the event of a no-deal Brexit?

If no agreement is reached by 29 March 2019, UK automatically leaves the EU and all existing agreements including access to the single market lapse. It is confirmed that the EU Settlement Scheme will go ahead regardless of the Brexit outcome. UK Government has no intention of ‘turfing out’ EU citizens. Each European country will decide their own immigration system and how they interact with British workers in Europe and the UK with EU workers in the UK. Some European countries have started to communicate application processes already.

Should you have any queries or if you would like to speak with someone please call +44 (0)20 3151 6794 or email contact@harbourhr.com  and we will be happy to help you through the process.

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