EU Settlement Scheme: One year to go to apply for settled status
Today marks the countdown of one year to go for applications to the EU Settlement Scheme. This Scheme enables EU citizens and their family members who have been resident in the UK to apply for either settled or pre-settled status (depending on how long they have been in the UK to date) to enable them to remain resident in the UK and keep the same rights they currently have beyond 30 June 2021, without the need for further immigration approvals. The deadline for applications is 30 June 2021.
Although the Scheme is now relatively straightforward to use, it has been plagued with certain difficulties, particularly if individuals have problems with certain documentation, and in terms of technology. This has been further hampered by the impact of COVID-19 and the system is currently experiencing delays. As a result, anyone affected and wishing to apply would be wise to apply as soon as possible rather than leaving it until next year.
From an employer perspective, now may be a good opportunity to remind your staff of the deadline and offer assistance in their applications if they need it, such as:
- allowing them to use employer property to make the application if they do not have access at home (particularly while libraries and internet cafes are closed);
- helping them with scanning or submitting documentation;
- assisting with language barriers if possible;
- supporting them during what may be a worrying time.
It is also important to ensure that your equality policy is up to date, and that staff feel able to approach the employer if they have concerns about the way they feel they are being treated by colleagues (if there is a problem). Although immigration status itself is not a protected characteristic, the issue is usually tied up with race, nationality or ethnicity, and these can result in claims for discrimination. Any allegations raised of this nature (whether formally or informally) should be taken seriously and investigated properly.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the employment law team. If you require specialist immigration advice we work with trusted partners and would be pleased to assist.
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