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Brexit and travel between UK and EU

Let’s start by saying this is relevant advice now but things might change. This is the Brexit saga, after all.

Many firms we work with have people moving between countries, either permanently or for a fixed period of time or just for business visits. We all have many concerns about how this will change when the UK departs completely from EU freedom of movement.

So here’s some helpful advice.

We’re focusing on potential risks for people moving around because you don’t want the hassle and heartache of travel from your current home to your country of origin and back again being disrupted.

Coming to the UK

From January 2021 a points-based system will be in place and you can see initial plans here.  The short version is: you need a job offer and the higher your skills level and/or career in a shortage occupation means you’re more likely to get approved. There are currently no routes into the UK for self-employed people.

EU citizen in the UK

If you’re an EU citizen and currently live in the UK, you should apply for Settled Status. It’s free to apply and the deadline is 30 June 2021, although frankly the sooner the better and you cannot apply for this if you enter the UK after December 2020. Having it means less potential risk for you when you travel away from the UK and return, for a start.

Here’s a link for more information and to apply: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families. This site also has incredibly useful information https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/immigration/staying-in-the-uk-after-brexit/applying-for-settled-status/.

Initially this was only possible on an Android phone and not on iPhone (we rolled our eyes too), but that’s been fixed.

If you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years – or 3 years if you’re married to, or in a civil partnership with, a UK citizen – then you can apply for UK citizenship. This is a longer process and costs more than £1,000. Here’s a link https://www.gov.uk/browse/citizenship/citizenship.

Not sure if you’re staying in the UK but maybe coming back later?

What about EU people who are living and working in the UK for a while, but not sure if they plan to stay – for example, they might leave the UK but maybe return in the future?

You can apply for Settled Status and that’s the advice from Coadec (Coalition for a Digital Economy) which acts as a policy voice for tech start-ups. The key reason is that you can leave the UK for up to 5 years and return, once you have Settled Status. Without it, you will only be able to spend 2 years outside the UK.

UK citizen in the EU

This depends where you are and you need to contact your local government office. If you’re planning to move any UK employees to EU countries, you need to check this and think carefully before you go ahead.

Right to work in the UK – employer checks

This is a bit complicated. Currently people from EU countries are fine, in terms of the employer’s legal obligations to have proof of the legal right to work. From January, employers can ask to see passports but also any visa, if people entered the UK after 1st January 2021 (when free movement ends).

But the current Government guidance is that employers cannot ask for proof of settled or pre-settled status until July 2021. Insisting on seeing this could result in a race discrimination claim.

The best approach is to carry out the usual right to work checks by seeing passports and employers won’t be expected to carry out these checks again retrospectively later in 2021.

What happens if you’re not sure when someone moved to the UK and they start work with you between January and June 2021? Ask and if that’s the case then ask to see a visa too. But we’re waiting for Home Office guidance about this – watch this space.

Non-UK graduates in the UK

The Government is now saying that from summer 2021, all international graduates will have a two-year visa to work in the UK. This returns the situation to the visas issued until 2012 when it was reduced to four months.

Applications for student visas will also be points-based and this article has useful information.

As things change and develop, we’ll add updates.

We also have a useful guide to people taking medications, who may be worried about disruption to their supply and you can see it here. You probably work with someone who is taking medication, even if you don’t know about it.

 

By Brian

 

Updated 10/11/2020

 

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