LS Legal News Bulletin
What Happens After 30 June 2021?
Monday 28th June 2021
As the UK continues to adapt to life post-Brexit, the next important date from an immigration standpoint is 30 June 2021. As of 30 May 2021, around 5.3 million people have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme.
If EU, EEA and Swiss nationals do not submit their initial applications under the EU Settlement Scheme, they will no longer have permission to remain in the UK and will have to make arrangements to leave. New rules are introduced for employers and landlords. We set out below further details of these changes and the actions that EU, EEA and Swiss citizens, employers, and landlords must take now.
Right to Work Check
Preventing illegal working is a duty of employers and thus conducting right to work checks are important to stay compliant and avoid hefty fines. The Home Office has released guidance to include EEA citizens. This guidance suggests that you may conduct a manual document-based check and an online check. You should obtain an original acceptable document such as the UK or EEA passport, registration certificate, document certifying permanent residence, permanent residence card or a current biometric immigration document.
EEA citizens can continue to use their passport or ID card to evidence their right to work up to and including 30 June 2021. They can also use online tool to prove that they have EU Settlement Scheme status.
From 01 July 2021 however, EEA citizens will no longer be able to rely on their passport or ID alone to show that they have a right to work and will have to evidence their right to work using the Home Office online right to work service. This does not include Irish citizens as they shall continue to have unrestricted access and the right to work in the UK.
There is no requirement for a retrospective check on EEA citizens who started employment up to and including 30 June 2021. If you choose to do so you must do it in a non-discriminatory manner.
If you are concerned about the immigration status of the prospective employee, you can use Employer Checking Service.
You must check that:
- the documents are genuine:
- the person presenting them is the rightful holder;
- the person is allowed to do the type of work you are offering; and
- the documents are current.
You must also make a clear copy of each document in a format that cannot manually be altered and retain the copy securely, either electronically or on paper.
Right to Rent Check
Similarly, to the Right to work check for employers, Landlords also need to ensure prospective tenants have the right to rent. Landlords can check this until 31 August 2021 by one of the following methods:
- over video calls;
- tenants can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals; and
- landlords should use the Landlord Checking Service if a prospective or existing tenant cannot provide any of the accepted documents - Home Office Checking service.
New Guidance related to Absences and EU Settlement Scheme
You may be able to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme even if your absences exceed the requirement of no more than six months in any 12-months period (called "continuous qualifying period of residence").
The latest guidance confirms that absences due to any coronavirus related reason will be considered important reasons, such as:
- if you were absent from the UK for another reason relating to coronavirus, for example, you left or remained outside the UK because there were fewer coronavirus restrictions elsewhere;
- you preferred to work or run a business from home overseas; or
- you would have been unemployed in the UK and preferred to rely on support from family or friends overseas.
This also now includes where you chose to leave or remain outside the UK because of the pandemic. This means that if you have a period of absence up to 12 months due to the coronavirus, this will not break your continuous qualifying period of residence.
What does it mean?
It means that you can apply under the EU Settlement Scheme for pre-settled status provided you can explain your situation and upload evidence of how coronavirus affected your ability to return to the UK. It also means that it will not negatively impact your future settled status application, which requires you to have spent no more than six months outside the UK in any 12-month period during your five year residence.
What if I was away for more than 12 months?
If you have been absent from the UK for a period exceeding 12 months for an important reason, you can still apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. You will need to show that your absence was due to an important reason. The Home Office have confirmed that coronavirus related absences may be deemed as an important reason if you can evidence that you were prevented from or advised against returning to the UK and as a consequence, you were outside of the UK longer than anticipated. Examples can include:
- where you were ill with coronavirus;
- in quarantine, self-isolating or shielding;
- caring for a family member affected by coronavirus or prevented from returning earlier to the UK due to travel disruption caused by coronavirus; or
- advised by your university or employer not to return to the UK and to continue studying or working remotely due to coronavirus.
Nationality and EU Settlement Scheme
To continue residing in the UK lawfully after 30 June 2021 you must have applied and/or be granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme. The Home Office can apply discretion for late applications however there is no guarantee that the discretion will be applied. We advise to apply before the deadline to avoid any issues. As such, unless you have a ceremony to become a British citizen before 01 July 2021, you should apply under the EU Settlement Scheme to secure your status in the UK until become British. This is the case even when you have applied to become a British citizen (naturalisation) and are waiting for a decision.
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