Since the UK’s decision to leave the European Union following a historic referendum many European nationals and their families will be naturally concerned about their future status in the UK. While we do not know the exact certainties that lay ahead, once Article 50 is triggered, undoubtedly employment laws and legislation will change and there is a strong possibility that EU workers will have to apply for visas to live and work in the UK going forward.
Many employees will not be holding back from contacting their HR departments to discuss their best options to secure their status within the UK now. In order for businesses (large and small) to reassure and retain European employees there are steps that can be taken now to help them feel more at ease.
All European citizens have a right to apply for Permanent Residence in the UK if they have completed five years within the UK complying with European Regulations. All EEA nationals applying for Permanent Residence will need evidence to prove they have exercised their treaty rights continuously for five years. (Treaty rights are broadly defined as working, studying or being self-employed whilst residing in the UK).
Once the European Citizen has obtained Permanent Residence they can apply for British Citizenship a year later. The process can be time consuming (it can take up to six months to obtain Permanent Residence) and this process can be considered complicated and a little daunting. The gathering of evidence may have deterred people from applying in the past. However, in order for European employees to have security going forward this may be considered the best option to pursue.
Jonathan Martin, Head of Immigration at Abbiss Cadres comments: “While we know that there will be no overnight changes, rather than wait for them to be announced and running the risk of cut off dates being introduced, it makes sense for all organisations to review their options for European staff now. Given the potential pitfalls it would be wise for organisations to seek expert help with securing the positions of their EU employees.”
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