Reviewed in August 2020. Content will be updated as negotiations develop.

What Does the EU Settlement Scheme Mean for Employers?

The UK government has offered some guidance on what the EU Settlement Scheme means for employers.

  • You have a duty not to discriminate against EEA citizens in light of the UK’s decision to leave the EU as both a prospective and current employer.
  • In addition to this, as an employee can make multiple applications under the EU Settlement Scheme, whilst the EU Settlement Scheme is ongoing an employer cannot remove an employee from their role, on the sole basis of a rejected EU Settlement Scheme application.
  • There is no legal obligation for you to communicate the EU Settlement Scheme, however it may be helpful to signpost the information that the Government is providing (especially the information in the EU Settlement Scheme employers toolkit)­.
  • You do not have to interpret the information provided by the Government and you must not provide immigration advice.
  • Many employers are providing information about the EU Settlement Scheme to their employees and assisting them through the process. This assistance includes providing training on making applications to HR staff, who in turn can assist the wider employee base, interactive sessions with EEA employees, one to one support and assistance with applications.

How Employers Can Help

Let’s look at some examples of how employers might be asked to help their employees with some advice.

Example 1

Jairo is a Dutch national. He applies for a job at ABC Ltd in May 2019. The owner of ABC Ltd rejects Jairo’s application, simply because Jairo is an EEA national. As that is discrimination based on Jairo’s nationality, the owner of ABC Ltd has acted illegally.

Example 2

Hugo is Portuguese. Hugo makes an application under the EU Settlement Scheme, and that application is rejected. Hugo’s employer dismisses him before the EU Settlement Scheme closes. That is illegal, as Hugo can make multiple applications under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Example 3

XYZ Ltd has given each of their employees a copy of the “EU Settlement Scheme employer’s toolkit”. XYZ Ltd is keen to ensure all its employees make an application under the scheme, so it introduces workshops to show its employees how to make an application under the scheme. XYZ Ltd also trains their HR staff and gets external assistance to assist their employees with applications under the scheme. A staff member asks XYZ Ltd for immigration advice connected to their application. It is illegal for XYZ Ltd to provide this advice.

The Employer Toolkit

The employer toolkit contains relevant materials for you and your employees, including a practical communications plan. The toolkit contains information about the scheme, leaflets, posters social media tips and a glossary of key terminology. 

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