There is a pack for employers containing a range of resources that can be shared with employees to help them apply, which is hosted by Build UK – the leading representative organisation for the UK construction industry: https://builduk.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/EU-Settlement-Scheme-Employers-Guide.pdf
The EU Settlement Scheme is a light touch residency process for Europeans who were in the UK before the end of the Brexit transition, at 11pm on 31st December 2020 (the cut-off).
Europeans in the UK before the cut-off can apply for:
- Settled Status if they have been continuously resident in the UK for five years. This is essentially permanent residence and can only be lost if they leave the UK for five years (four years for Swiss nationals) or are convicted of a serious criminal offence.
- Pre-Settled Status if they have under five years’ continuous residence. Pre-Settled Status can be lost if they spend more than two years in a row outside of the UK. They can switch to Settled Status in the UK after five continuous years.
Non-European family members can also apply, so long as they were related before the cut-off date or are children of Europeans who were born afterwards.
Crucially, applications must be submitted on or before the 30th June 2021 deadline. Those who do not apply on time will not have status in the UK and could find themselves subjected to hostile environment controls on working, renting accommodation, accessing healthcare and other fundamentals of everyday life. The Home Office has said that some late applications will be accepted, but only in specific and narrowly drawn circumstances.
In some respects this is not a matter for employers. You will not be expected to check that employees have applied as the guidance currently stands, and you will not need to repeat right to work checks after the application deadline. Irrespective, employees who do not apply on time could have their lives turned upside down and you may need to end their employment, if it transpires an employee does not have status in the UK.