CHAS, the supply chain risk management expert, is calling on construction companies to encourage eligible EU workers to apply for ‘settled status’ to ensure they can continue to work legally in the UK once the Brexit transition period is complete.
The British government has indicated that anyone settled in the UK for more than five years as of exit day (31, January, 2020) – will likely to be able to gain ‘settled status’ which will grant them the same rights as British citizens. Those who do not meet the five year criteria may still be able to gain pre-settled status which will allow them a grant of limited leave to remain for five years.
Eligible EU nationals have until 30 June 2021 to submit an application – after which if they haven’t done so and they continue to work in the UK they will be doing so illegally.
However there are concerns that language barriers and a lack of awareness of the requirement may prevent some workers from completing the application potentially driving them into the illegitimate labour market.
Employers can help by spreading awareness of the need to apply for ‘settled status’ and offering assistance where required – such as access to computers to complete the application. It is free to apply and a step-by-step application guide is available in 26 European languages. The application can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/applying-for-settled-status
Employers may also wish to consider whether as an employer they are eligible to become a sponsor which could help them to recruit from the EU in the future. https://migrate-uk.com/sponsor-licence-applications-uk-2021/