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What does the EU Settlement Scheme mean for employers?

The EU Settlement Scheme is the process EU citizens living in the UK, can use to apply to continue living here. The scheme is also open to EEA and Swiss nationals and gives the applicant and their families, the immigration status they need to continue to live, work and study in the UK.

If you are not an EU citizen, you might not have heard of the scheme so consider this a crash course to understanding the process a bit better. If you are an employer, understanding this process might help you give better support to any of your workers going through the applications.

According to, the immigration status attained will mean the applicant is eligible for:

  • Public services, such as healthcare and schools
  • Public funds and pensions
  • Travel in and out of the UK
  • British citizenship, if they want to apply and meet the requirements.

The government have recognised that the contribution EU citizens make to the UK economy as workers, is invaluable and have provided information for employers so they can communicate with their EU staff if they wish.

The government have set out these obligations for employers as guidance: 

  • It is the responsibility of the individual to make an application to the EU Settlement Scheme. There is no requirement for the individual to inform you, as an employer, that they have applied or the outcome of their application. Likewise, you are not required to check that an employee has applied.
  • You have a duty not to discriminate against EU citizens in light of the UK’s decision to leave the EU as both a prospective and current employer. You cannot make an offer of employment, or continued employment, dependent on an individual having made an application.
  • Current ‘right to work’ checks (e.g. passport and/or national identity card) apply until the end of 2020. EU citizens can also evidence their right to work using the online right to work service, if they choose to do so. However, they are under no obligation to demonstrate their right to work in this way.
  • There will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK until 30 June 2021.
  • You will not be required to undertake retrospective checks on existing EU employees when the UK transitions to the future skills-based immigration system.
  • There is no legal obligation for you to communicate the EU Settlement Scheme, however, you may wish to signpost the information that the Government is providing.
  • You should not interpret information provided by the Government and you must be careful not to provide immigration advice, unless you are qualified to do so. For more information please visit the Office of the Immigration Service Commissioner (OISC) guidance on GOV.UK.

To apply, an applicant completes a form online and using their passport (or equivalent accepted document), and other information such as National Insurance number, proof of residence and a photo, they verify their identity, go through a criminality check and then await the results of their application.

This is could understandably be a stressful time for a person. Although figures as of October 2018 show that over 80% of applicants receive settled, or pre-settled, status, there might still be tension, anxiety and angst about the situation. You can show support to those affected by displaying posters, factsheets and making use of the employers toolkit – all available to download from here  You can also point your employees in the direction of the application start page.

Keep in mind that although some people may be fairly open about their application and subsequent status, some people might want to keep it more private and that should be respected. If you’re in doubt, speak to the member of staff, or point them in the direction where answers can be found.

More information can be found out by following the links above, or you can download this infographic.