Last Friday (12 February 2021), the Home Office announced it had now received 5m applications to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).
This is great news, and hopefully will encourage more to apply – as worrying reports conducted last year showed that thousands of European citizens currently fulfilling key worker roles in the care sector, as well as those working in construction, manufacturing and agriculture, are still at risk of losing their legal status and face removal from the UK.
Of 295 care workers surveyed by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, one in seven were unsure what the EUSS was, one in three had not heard about it before being in touch with the charity, and one in three did not know there was a deadline for the settlement scheme, nor when it was. Such misinformation, along with the mixed messaging around the voluntary return scheme (which supports EU citizens who do not wish to stay in the UK past the deadline) can be really confusing for employees and employers alike.
With only four months left before the deadline of 30 June 2021, it’s crucial that employers have conversations with their workforce to make sure no employee involuntarily misses the chance to apply. While we’re waiting for the Home Office to release their updated “right to work” guide, it’s also a good time to think about alternatives to the sponsorship route, which may be more cost effective for your business if you’re looking to recruit talent from overseas.
Our immigration team can help you to get the message on how to apply and secure settlement through the EUSS out there to employees in the most efficient and cost effective way possible. We can also advise on workforce planning, to ensure any anticipated skills gaps resulting from Brexit restrictions on immigration can be reduced, and steps taken to put in place a sponsor licence or anything else your business might need to continue to freely recruit the best people. All you need to do is get in touch.