What does the EU Settlement Scheme mean for employers and employees?

The uncertainty over the outcome of Brexit has been a worry for employers for the past three years, ever since the results of the EU referendum were released. The prospect of leaving the EU has left many employers concerned about the stability of their workforce and client base.

Right from its announcement and up until the vote in 2016, the referendum divided the nation – and in 2019, even with the election of a new Prime Minister, we’re still unsure of what the future holds for both employers and employees, with no sign of the political division healing. We have seen debate after debate, watching members of our Government argue over how Brexit should be handled; it’s no wonder that we’re losing trust in the stability of our businesses.

But just how, exactly, can we alleviate some of our anxieties in a time of uncertainty about the future?

Business owners and employers can visit Gov.uk’s ‘Preparation for Brexit’ tool to find out how best they can move forward. Upon visiting the website, employers and employees can begin a personalised questionnaire that will inform them of the actions they may need to take to prepare for Brexit, in addition to the changes in their industry and any relevant regulations they may need to be aware of.

The threat of Britain losing its ties with the EU is not only having an impact on employers. It’s also affecting EU citizens working in the UK, who, after its withdrawal, will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme before June 2021. It’s also applicable to EEA and Swiss nationals who wish to continue working in the UK. Employers, therefore, need to be fully aware of these changes, ensuring that the relevant employees take the necessary measures to maintain their citizen’s rights in the UK.

In addition to working in the UK, those who apply for and are approved on the European Settlement Scheme will have the right to continue living and studying.

This new scheme will affect every business in the UK – from global enterprises to SMEs. It ultimately falls on the employer to take action in informing their employees of the changing circumstances, so that they have enough time to apply and prepare.

Those who have indefinite leave to remain or enter the UK, however, do not have to worry about applying to the Settlement Scheme.

Employees can apply through the Gov.uk website, where they will be asked questions about their identity, residence in the UK and criminality. EU citizens will then be required to show evidence of a valid biometric passport or biometric national security card.

Ultimately, ensuring that your employees retain their right to work and live in the UK allows you, as the employer, to keep your best talent and instil a company ethos that encourages your workforce to trust in their management.

If you’re unsure of how best to approach your employees about the EU Settlement Scheme, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team, who can advise you of the best ways to do so.

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