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Brexit – deadlines for settlement status – employers must take note

24/11/2020 – EU, EEA or Swiss employees? Deadlines are approaching – employers (and their staff) must take action

If you have EU, EEA or Swiss employees (who are not already British or Irish citizens and who do not have an existing indefinite leave to remain in the UK) you, and they, need to take action to avoid the risk of illegal working. myHRdept will provide retained clients with a template letter to employees on request to start this process.

PLEASE NOTE the need to apply for settled or pre-settled status applies to all EU, EEA and Swiss employees and their families even if they already hold permanent residency permits and, in the case of family members, even of they were born in the UK.

By 30th June 2021

By 30th June all EU, EEA or Swiss employees intending to remain and work in the UK will need to have applied for settled or pre-settled status. We are expecting a backlog of applications, so we advise this is done sooner rather than later.

By 31 December 2020

After 31 December 2020 current residency permits for EU, EEA or Swiss workers will no longer be valid.

EU, EEA or Swiss employees currently out of the country

Many employers will have EU, EEA or Swiss employees with pre-settled status who have spent a long time outside of the UK, perhaps because of Covid-19. Workers with pre-settled status should consider making their way back to the UK prior to 31st December, or prior to clocking up more than 180 days outside of the UK. If they have already been away for more than 180 days, employers should record in writing the reasons why, though this by no means guarantees that workers residency proof might not be disqualified.

What to do now:

Obtain a suitable template letter for your employees (myHRdept can provide a suitable letter for retained HR customers – contact us for the template) and send this as soon as possible. This letter is designed to raise awareness of the need to apply for pre-settled or settled status, and to provide access to the necessary processes for doing so.

What is pre-settled status?

Pre-settled status is a grant of limited leave to remain for five years, allowing citizens to live, work and study in the UK after 30 June 2021, and for a period of 5 years from the point pre-settled status is granted. To apply for pre-settled status, EU, EEA or Swiss citizens must be resident in the UK on or before 31st December 2020, and must apply by 30 June 2021.

What is settled status?

Under settled status an EU citizen can continue to live, work and study in the UK on an indefinite basis, and have full access to healthcare and state benefits. With settled status EU, EEA or Swiss citizens can leave the UK for up to 5 years before losing their status.

To apply for settled status EU, EEA or Swiss citizens (except those who already have an indefinite leave to remain) will need to show that they have lived in Britain for at least 6 months in any 12-month period over at least 5 years. There are some limited exceptions for military service etc. If unable to demonstrate 5 years’ worth of UK residency, they should apply for pre-settled status instead, applying for settled status once 5 years has been reached.

Do EU, EEA or Swiss workers with residency rights need to apply for settled status?

Even citizens who already have residency rights (and who are not British or Irish citizens) must apply for settled status by 30th June 2020, or theoretically could be required to leave the UK.

What about family?

Family members need to apply for pre-settled or settled status wherever they happen to originate from (i.e. not limited to EU, EEA or Swiss citizens.) Children’s applications can be completed by their parent and their applications can be joined to the parent’s application (meaning that when the parent’s settled status is granted the child’s will be too.)

Who doesn’t have to apply?

British and Irish citizens and anyone with an existing ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain.)

What is the EEA?

The EEA includes Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein, as well European Union countries.

Where can we find more information?

Where can an employer obtain a template letter to send to employees?

myHRdept retained HR outsource customers can contact us to request a copy of the template letter.


If you’re thinking of outsourcing your HR or employment law needs, why not contact myHRdept? Call us on 01628 820515 to discuss your requirements or contact us and we’ll call you back.

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