As all employers already know, good staff members are their greatest asset. It has been reported that in 2022, employee turnover was around 50% higher than it had been in previous years, so there is no better time than now to ensure that you do all you can to support your workforce and ensure that they will remain with you for many years to come.
There was, inevitably, a huge loss of staff following Brexit, and 2023 may be the year in which there is another significant blow to EU nationals living and working in the UK. We have previously written about this here, but to summarise, for EU nationals who applied for pre-settled status as soon as the EU Settlement Scheme opened in 2018, August 2023 will be the month in which the period of pre-settled status will automatically come to an end.
Without an application to upgrade to settled status, many EU nationals may find themselves unlawfully in the UK, without the right to work, rent or access the NHS. As well as this being catastrophic for individuals, there is also a risk that employers will unwittingly continue to employ those who have lost their right to work.
As an employer, there are steps that you can take that will benefit you and your workforce for years to come:
Encourage your employees to apply now if they can
- An application for settled status is free and, if successful, will result in indefinite leave to remain in the UK and a route to British citizenship.
- Applications are made online and, in many cases are uncomplicated.
- Employees do not need to wait for their pre-settled status to come to an end before they apply for settled status. Many people with pre-settled status may be eligible to apply for settled status now, but do not know it.
- A decision on an application for settled status can be made within a matter of days if there are no complicating factors.
Advise your employees that there may also be pitfalls
- Not all applications will be straightforward.
- If an employee has not been working for the full period of their pre-settled status, the Home Office may not be able to rely on automated checks to make a decision. Employees should start collating evidence of their continuous five-year period in the UK.
- If an employee has spent significant periods of time outside the UK, this may complicate the application, and a close record should be kept of time spent outside the UK. If an employee thinks that days spent out of the UK amount to the equivalent of more than six months in any 12-month period, they should take advice.
Support your employees
- Don’t let them feel that they have to apply alone.
- It will benefit you and them if their settled status is granted in good time with minimum stress.