Brexit and what you need to do next

This weeks Blog will take you through the Settlement Scheme for EEA nationals currently working and wishing to remain in the UK


To be able to make informed workforce planning decisions, it is important that organisations understand how Brexit will affect EEA nationals residing in the UK, and what their employees are required to do to protect their right to stay.

Employers should communicate with their affected employees to ensure that applications for status are made in good time.

Irish nationals will not be impacted by the agreed EU settlement scheme.

All EU nationals who are exercising a Treaty right in the UK on or before 31 December 2020 (the end of the transition period) must apply under the EU settlement scheme for settled or pre-settled status. This includes those who already hold a registration certificate or permanent residence card.

Individuals who have exercised a Treaty right in the UK for five years or more will be granted settled status and those who have exercised a Treaty right for less than five years will be granted pre-settled status, which can be converted to settled status when they have been resident for five years. Settled status allows an individual to live and work in the UK indefinitely and will be lost only where an individual is absent from the UK for five years.

What is a Treaty Right?

Free movement allows for visa-free travel for up to 3 months, to stay past this limit, you must be exercising a Treaty Right. If your employee has been continuously exercising their treaty rights for 5 years, they are eligible to apply for a permanent right of residence which would allow them to permanently reside in the UK without exercising treaty rights.

The application is designed to be straightforward. Individuals apply online and will qualify by meeting three core criteria:

  • Identity: Applicants can verify their identity by scanning their passport or national identity card to the “EU Exit: ID document check” app (currently available only on Android devices), sending it by post or taking it to be scanned at an application centre.
  • Eligibility: The online form will automatically search the HM Revenue and Customs and Department for Work and Pensions databases to establish continuous residence. There will be an opportunity for applicants to upload further evidence of residence where there are gaps in these databases, to allow them every opportunity to establish continuous residence. Applicants will not have to show that they meet all requirements of current free movement rules, for example the requirement for comprehensive sickness insurance.
  • Suitability: Suitability will be checked, but the Government has said that this is to identify “serious or persistent criminals, or anyone who poses a security threat” and it is not concerned with minor offences.

An online application, where the applicant is not required to provide further information, currently takes between one and four calendar days to process.

The scheme is fully open for applications from 30 March 2019.   There is no fee for the application and the deadline for settled or pre-settled status is 30 June 2021.

Contact Westcountry HR for advice, we can provide you with letter templates for your employees and workforce planning tools.