18 April 2019

Top 5 questions from businesses regarding EU staff living in the UK

Referring to a study by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and Deloitte, below we extract summaries of key points.


1. What rights do our EU staff have?

EU nationals living in the UK prior to Brexit are guaranteed to be able to stay in either a deal or no deal Brexit scenario.

Whether the EU Withdrawal Agreement (the Brexit ‘deal’) is approved or not:

•  EU nationals and their family living in the UK are allowed to register their status to allow permanent stay (As part of the EU Settlement Scheme)

•  Entry to the UK at the border - EU passport or ID cards alone will allow entry, until the new system is launched in 2021.

•  Continued right to work in the UK - EU passport or ID card alone will allow this until the new immigration system is in place (unless changing employer).


2. What will EU staff have to do to stay in the UK?

A typically straightforward process, which involves providing identity documents (either via the Android app, registry offices or by post) before completing an online application form.



Identity Document Check

•  Scan documents to enable UKVI to verify the EU national’s identity.
•  Use the app to scan the electronic information in the EU national’s passport or ID card which generates a link to an online application.
•  Documents can be also scanned at a registry office or sent by post, instead of using the app.



Online application

•  EU nationals are required to answer basic questions about themselves and provide their National Insurance number.
•  The UKVI expect most EU nationals won’t need to provide any further evidence.




•  The online system will immediately notify the EU national if they are considered “settled” or “pre-settled” based on their answers
•  Option given to upload documents that show further residence in the UK if the “pre-settled” outcome is contested
•  The result of this appeal will then be emailed to the EU national following UKVI consideration


3. How can we help our EU staff understand their situation?

Communicate key info with staff (this does not have to be resource intensive):

You can either:

•  Signpost to official government advice
•  Add a level of your own messaging
•  Set out a more active support policy

Make sure you word it correctly as an explanation of the EU Settlement Scheme, rather than a request for staff to prove their “settled or presettled” status (which may be considered discrimination)

Employers can signpost to:

•  The primary “settled and pre-settled” status GOV.UK webpage
•  The employer toolkit briefing pack (Online and PDF) and/or;
•  The one page EU Settlement Scheme factsheet (Online and PDF).

Employers may also chose to produce information:

•  Via email
•  A dedicated intranet page
•  Dedicated drop-ins/ helplines
•  FAQs, video
•  Seminars, webinars, townhalls

Employers may also consider sending a message of reassurance to reiterate the ongoing value and contribution of EU staff, to not cause any unnecessary panic and to encourage retention.


4. Should we actively support EU staff through the EU Scheme process?

Businesses are not legally required to provide direct support, however, doing so can help enhance employee relations, possibly bringing retention and recruitment benefits.


5. What are our legal obligations? 

There is no change to existing Right to Work checks (checking passports and ID cards) for employers, until 2021 when the new immigration system will be adopted.

Employers should ensure they do not retrospectively request evidence from existing staff of their EU Settlement Scheme registration. 


For more in-depth answers, please see the study in full here.


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