Led by Legal Director of Immigration, Rachel Harvey, and Employment Partner Emma Morgan, this webinar focussed on the considerations many Employers are faced with concerning immigration.
This complex and ever-changing area means Employers need to keep a keen eye on any changes or alterations that are made to the current guidelines and rules. The key themes from the webinar and what they mean for employers are detailed below. In short, they could affect staff and family members and the webinar sought to outline what support employers can give. We also looked at the EU Settlement Scheme, the Skilled Worker visa routes and British citizenship.
EU Settlement Scheme
The EU Settlement Scheme is ending on 30 June 2021. There is updated guidance from the Home Office to say that Employers do not need to do retrospective checks on EU employees who have provided their EU passports as evidence of their right to work before 31 December 2020. So, if employers have employees who are EU nationals or dependants of EU nationals then the employer is not required to go back and check their documents again. N.B: This is subject to change and will be kept under review.
We advise that Employers encourage all staff members who are EU nationals and dependants i.e. spouses and children to have applied to the Scheme so their status is protected after the 30 June 2021 The individual will need to have been resident in the UK before 31 December 2020. Once they apply they will be granted either pre-settled or settled status.
Settled status is where someone has been continuously in the UK for 5 years from the point at which they apply. They may be able to apply for British citizenship. Shoosmiths is able to assess individual situations and whether an EU migrant is eligible for this.
Skilled Worker visa
The Skilled Worker visa has replaced Tier 2 General visas and the rules have changed surrounding this area. The eligible jobs lists have changed significantly and now includes jobs which the Government has confirmed are A-level or above. There are also minimum salary requirements for the Skilled Worker and Intra-Company routes. In order to employ someone in this category an Employer must be a licensed Sponsor. Once again, Shoosmiths is able to support the employer with the individual’s application.
Skilled workers are also required to meet a mandatory English Language requirement. The English Language test will need to prove that they are competent in all 4 components of speaking, reading, writing and understand English using an approved English language test. This has become problematic due to the current pandemic the English test centres are closed. Applicants are having to travel several hundred miles within their own country to an open test centre. This is not only a problem as it requires the individual to consider the logistics of getting to a test centre, but also it could potentially delay entry to the UK.
Skilled worker route for dependants
There may be an individual who is already in the UK that may not have been included in an EU or non-EU national’s application as a dependent but they can, in certain circumstances, be added at a later stage. They would need to ensure that the dependent would meets the requirements. The requirements are different depending on relationship status e.g. unmarried partners would need to provide additional documentation such as proving they have been in a relationship akin to marriage for a period of 2 years prior to the application.
British citizens can bring their partner over to the UK from any other country provided that they meet the Immigration Rules.
Once they are free from the immigration rules time restrictions then the applicant can consider applying for naturalisation. They would have to show they have good character, meet the residence requirements and meet the English language requirements. Shoosmiths offers specialist advice in this complex area.
This was an overview of our webinar detailing the personal immigration matters within our Immigration Webinar Series. Further details of our Immigration webinars can be found on our Brexit Insights hub. We highly recommended that you join our ongoing webinar sessions which cover wide ranging topics within Immigration and Employment law.
As these webinars are short and cover a range of changes that are occurring, we appreciate that there will be some employers who may need further guidance moving forward. Therefore, for any tailored advice, we are happy to help with all enquires and encourage Employers to contact our dedicated Immigration team with any further queries.