August 2023 marks 5 years since the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) first opened to applicants. This is very significant. Nina Holmes and Angharad Aspinall outline what you need to know.
For many of the estimated two and a half million people in the UK who hold pre-settled status, their 5-year period of limited leave to remain in the UK under the EUSS will expire in August 2023, bringing an end to their pre-settled status.
Before it expires, they will need to apply for settled status to secure their continued right to live in the UK. Without an application to upgrade to settled status, many EU nationals may find themselves in the UK unlawfully.
As well as being catastrophic for individuals, there is also a risk that employers will unwittingly continue to employ those who have lost the right to work.
Applications for settled status are free, and if successful, will result in your employees being granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK and a route to British citizenship. The application process is also intended to be straightforward, making it quick and easy for your employees to apply.
Not all applications will be straightforward, particularly if the employee has not been working for the full duration of their pre-settled status and/or they have spent significant periods of time outside the UK. In this case, the Home Office may not be able to rely on automated checks to make their decision and may be requested to provide further evidence demonstrating their continuous 5-year residence in the UK.
It’s important that your employees feel supported during this process, which will benefit both of you if their settled status is granted.
If you have any queries about how this will impact your business, get in touch with our team of expert immigration lawyers for bespoke advice.