Since the now infamous 23 June 2016 Brexit referendum, the world has been watching and waiting to see just how the UK’s departure from the European Union will unfold. With over 3 million EU citizens living and working in the UK there is a sense of uncertainty and these individuals will be apprehensively anticipating the official leave date, as will the HR professionals who support them.
The UK Government website explains that the rights of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK will remain the same until 30 June 2021. In order to continue living and working in the UK after this date individuals will need to successfully apply for settled/pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Applications open on 30 March 2019. It’s a lot of information to take in and, understandably, many employees may feel unsure or overwhelmed.
So, how can employers help?
Utilise the Government Toolkit – in preparation for applications opening on 30 March, the UK Government has created a handy toolkit containing leaflets, posters and a briefing pack to help employers across the UK to communicate a clear and consistent messages about the scheme.
Direct Employees to Free Advice - charities like the Work Rights Centre offer free and confidential drop-in clinics in London and Manchester to help UK/EU Nationals understand their employment rights. Their service is available in a number of languages including Romanian, Bulgarian and Polish.
Partner with an Immigration Service Provider – many immigration firms can provide specialist advice, offering seminars or workshops tailored to your workforce. Employees can be guided through the process of submitting an application with the option of additional one-to-one support.
NB. Remember to avoid advising employees on their rights regarding Brexit, unless qualified to do so, and instead guide them to the relevant tools and resources.
Written by Becky Dobson, Consultant at Veran Performance