Europeans (EU, EEA or Swiss citizens) living in the UK have until 30 June 2021 to apply for settlement or pre-settlement status which will allow them to continue to live and work in the UK.
The requirement to apply rests with the employee rather than the employer, which has left some employers wondering what they can do now so that they aren’t caught out on July 1 employing someone who has missed the deadline or forgotten to complete the paperwork.
“Your most important job right now as an employer is to make sure that your staff are well-informed and aware that there are actions required on their part to comply,” says our employment lawyer, Megan O’Hara.
Up to date guidance is awaited from the Home Office on the policy for right to work checks from 1 July 2021 onwards but in the meantime, here is her advice for Microsoft Partners:
1. Notify ALL staff about the settlement status requirements and deadlines
The starting point, if you haven’t already, is to communicate the following information to ALL staff:
Job applicants and employees need to prove their right to work in the UK. It is your responsibility to do the correct right to work checks to ensure they can.
Up until 30 June 2021 EU citizens might provide or have provided a passport, national identity card or biometric residence document to prove their right to work in the UK. They do not have to have been given settled or pre-settled status yet.
You may wish to invite staff who have relied on an EEA or Swiss passport or national ID card to date to provide you with their right to work under the Settlement Scheme over the coming months (but don’t insist on it). Then, once the 1 July 2021 arrives, subject to further guidance being issued by the Government, request proof of their status.
2. Check that each employee share code matches your records
Staff who have successfully completed their pre-settled or settlement status application should receive a letter confirming their right to work status through the Settlement Scheme. If they have been told they can view their immigration status online, there will be a share code which they can pass on to you. The letter will contain a date by which the code should be used – it lasts 30 days (after which a new code will be required).
Once you have their share code, you’ll need your employee’s date of birth in order to complete your check. Login to the government website and enter both to verify that your records and the employee/applicant match the government database. This should then confirm their right to work status in the UK after 30 June 2021.
3. Print or download the information for the employee file
Note: This is important. Once you have logged in and got the information, make sure you keep a record of the employee’s settlement or pre-settlement status.
You could face a civil penalty of up to £20,000 if you employ an illegal worker and have not carried out the correct right to work check. Checks need to be carried out before you allow an applicant to work for you in the UK.
If an employer knows or has reasonable cause to believe that an applicant or employee does not have the right to work and employs them anyway then this is a criminal offence (risking imprisonment and an unlimited fine).