Tag Archive: EU nationals

Brexit: Update on future rights of EU citizens in the UK

In an update to our Be Aware article of 12 July 2017, Government publishes proposals for EU nationals, the UK and the EU have just concluded the latest round of their Brexit negotiations which will be of interest to employers who are monitoring developments as part of a communications strategy for keeping EU nationals in their workforce informed of the latest position.

In this latest round of negotiations, the Home Office has reported that progress has been made in relation to the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals in the EU.  In particular, the UK has agreed to protect the rights to reciprocal healthcare, including European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) for EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU who are present on the day of exit.  The UK and EU have also agreed to protect the rights of some cross border workers and are also said to be nearing a deal on preserving professionals’ rights to practise after Brexit.

Many issues remain outstanding, however. These include agreement on the rights of EU national posted workers, some aspects relating to permanent residence including the need to apply for a new residence document, and the rights of future family members.  This table highlights progress to August 2017.

The next round of negotiations is due later in September 2017.  In the meantime, the Home Office’s webpages, Status of EU citizens in the UK: What you need to know hold the latest information.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.dlapiperbeaware.co.uk/brexit-update-on-future-rights-of-eu-citizens-in-the-uk/

Government publishes proposals for EU nationals

After many months of speculation about the Government’s proposals for European nationals[1] currently living and working in the UK, the Government has now published its Policy Paper setting out its plans.  This is welcome news to employers employing European nationals in their workforce. Whilst the terms of the Policy Paper are still, of course, subject to negotiation with the EU (and an expectation that they will be reciprocated),  they do at least serve as a useful guide to the Government’s current stance.

It is critical that employers keep up-to-date with the latest information. During this period of uncertainty, reassurance of workers is likely to be key in order to prevent loss of talent and to ensure business needs can continue to be met. Employers should therefore have a plan for keeping on top of the latest developments and a communications strategy for liaising with their staff so that the workforce has accurate information about the latest position and knows where it can find out further details, both internally and from external sources.   Regular meetings and/or notices, and the appointment of a go-to person within the organisation are both likely to be helpful in this regard.

Here is a summary of the key proposals at this stage:

  • Until the UK leaves the EU, EU nationals will continue to have the same rights to live and work in the UK as they have now;
  • At this stage, EU nationals do not need to apply for any documentation to evidence their right to stay in the UK. The existing regime will be replaced by a new process. European nationals may decide to access this new scheme before the UK’s exit from the EU but they do not have to do so. The new scheme is expected to be up and running in 2018;
  • EU nationals, who have been continuously resident in the UK for at least 5 years by the cut-off date[2], will eventually be required to apply for a residence document (regardless of whether they already hold a certificate of permanent residence) which will be proof of their right to live and work in the UK. This residence document will give the individual a new ‘settled’ status;
  • EU nationals, with settled status and at least 6 years’ residence in the UK, will be able to apply for British citizenship;
  • EU nationals, who have been living in the UK for less than 5 years at the cut-off date, will eventually be required to apply for a temporary status to give them permission to remain in the UK. Once 5 years’ residence has been achieved, the individual will be able to apply for settled status;
  • The Government plans to grant a period of ‘blanket residence permission’. This means that immediately upon the UK exiting the EU, all EU nationals already lawfully living in the UK will be given time to apply for their new immigration status. The timeframe is to be confirmed but is expected to be up to 2 years, primarily to avoid a rush for applications;
  • Family members[3] (including non-EU nationals) of European nationals who are resident in the UK before it exits the UK will also be eligible to apply for settled status (if resident for 5+ years) or leave to remain (if resident for less than 5 years);
  • European nationals who come to live in the UK after the cut-off date will be subject to new rules which have yet to be confirmed. The Government has stated that whilst these EU nationals will be allowed to remain in the UK for a temporary period, they should not have any expectation of being guaranteed a right to remain in the UK;
  • The application process to establish immigration status will be modernised and streamlined, and fees will be set at a reasonable level;
  • For benefits purpose, European nationals with settled status will be treated in the same way as comparable UK nationals. European nationals with temporary leave to remain pending the achievement of settled status will be able to access benefits on the same basis as they do now (which is broadly comparable access for workers and limited access for those not working).

If you would like to discuss the impact of Brexit on European nationals in your workforce, or how we might assist with your internal communications strategy, please email Kate Hodgkiss.

 

Useful links:

Policy paper: Safeguarding the position of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in the UK (June 2017)

Policy paper factsheet: Rights of EU citizens in the UK (June 2017)

Government guidance: Status of EU citizens in the UK: What you need to know

Email alerts: Status of EU nationals in the UK

[1] In this article, European nationals denotes nationals of the EU, EEA and Switzerland

[2] The cut-off date has not yet been confirmed but is proposed to be no earlier than 29 March 2017, and no later than the date of the UK’s exit from the EU

[3] Family members include direct family members (spouse/civil partner, direct dependants in the descending line (under 21 or dependent), direct dependants in the ascending line) including those with retained rights and extended family members whose residence has been previously facilitated by the Home Office

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.dlapiperbeaware.co.uk/government-publishes-proposals-for-eu-nationals/

Brexit: Impact on European nationals in your workforce

The rights of European nationals[1] currently living and working in the UK has been one of the most high profile aspects of the Brexit process, and it remains a hot topic. The consistent message from UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, has been that securing the status of, and giving certainty to, European nationals already in the UK, and to UK nationals in the EU, is a priority for the Government.  For now, however, there is very little information about the Government’s proposals, and any plans must of course be negotiated with the remaining EU member states. It remains to be seen how these negotiations will ultimately play out.

This leaves any employers with European national employees in an uncertain playing field, with very little to go on in terms of future planning. Despite this, however, there are some key issues that employers can think about now with the aim of making the transition into any new regime as smooth as possible.

Reassurance is key

First and foremost, employers should reassure their European national employees that, for now, nothing has changed – and that there will be no change until Britain formally exits the EU. For many employers, European nationals will play critical roles within the business, and preventing a talent drain will be vital to the business’ future success. At best, little might change for existing European nationals in the future; at worst, being able to retain employees in the interim period will allow the business some time to plan for the future.

How many employees are affected?

Employers should carry out a comprehensive audit of their UK workforce to identify how many European nationals are employed, and what their current immigration status is. This review is essential, both to be able to support affected employees properly, and also to allow the business to assess the impact on future workstreams and skills, and to structure contingency plans for the future.

What sort of assistance might you be able to offer?

Employers should consider what level of support they are willing to offer their European national employees to understand the options available to them and to progress any applications to consolidate their immigration status in the UK. These options will depend on the length of time the employee has lived in the UK and include the employee applying for a registration certificate, a permanent residence certificate or British citizenship.  Appointing a ‘go-to’ person with responsibility for dealing with any employee queries may be helpful.

Beware of discrimination

Employers must be careful to ensure that any decisions relating to employment are not discriminatory towards any particular nationality; for example, employers should avoid the temptation to avoid recruiting European nationals simply because of the Brexit uncertainties.

It is also essential that employers are alive to the impact of Brexit on employee relations in the workplace. Employers should review, communicate and give high-level backing to their equality and diversity policy to ensure employees understand their rights and responsibilities not to discriminate or harass other employees, including in relation to another employee’s nationality.

Keep abreast of the Government’s proposals

In principle, the UK and the EU appear to be agreed on the need to secure a reciprocal deal to guarantee the rights of the 3 million or so existing European nationals in the UK, and the 1 million or so British nationals living in the EU. However, there are countless other issues on the table to be considered, not least in this context –  matters such as unborn children, and the ability to move, marry, divorce and claim benefits, to name just a few.  It is perhaps unsurprising therefore that, to date, the Government has not put forward any concrete proposals.  Employers should therefore keep a close watching brief to ensure they are up-to-date with the latest information.

If you would like to discuss the impact of Brexit on European nationals in your workforce, or would like a copy of our Snapshot publication on this issue, please email Kate Hodgkiss.

[1] In this article, European nationals denotes nationals of the EU, EEA and Switzerland

Permanent link to this article: http://www.dlapiperbeaware.co.uk/brexit-impact-on-european-nationals-in-your-workforce/