Thousands of EU citizens still yet to apply for settled status. People Management speaks to Jonathan Beech

Jan 20, 2020

Published 17 January 2020. Francis Churchill reported.

Migrate UK was asked for their comments after Guy Verhofstadt, Brexit coordinator for the European Parliament, spoke on Radio 4’s Today programme 17 January.

Verhofstadt said it had been agreed that, even after the transition period, there would be no automatic deportation of EU citizens who had not applied for settled status. “There will always be people who don’t fulfill the procedures because they don’t even know they exist,” he said. “There will be a grace period… Even after the grace period there will be no automatic deportation.” 

He added there would be the possibility after that period for EU citizens to apply for settled status if they submitted reasons why they missed the initial deadline.

Jonathan Beech, managing director at Migrate UK, said there was still uncertainty over the future of the UK’s immigration system, and urged businesses to start advising their European employees to register for settled status if they had not done so already. He said this would be particularly important in the case of a no-deal situation at the end of the month. 

“There may only be a short window for EEA citizens to enter the UK to be able to reside and work without being subject to future UK immigration rules [in a no-deal scenario],” he said.

Looking beyond the end of the month, Beech said regardless of what is in the next immigration whitepaper, businesses should have until the end of next year to prepare. “But businesses will face an increase in costs associated with sponsoring EEA citizens entering the UK for work and long-term stay from next January,” he added.

“Should the current points-based system work, sponsorship and licensing process still be in place; existing sponsors must be compliant with the rules to avoid having licenses removed for non-compliance,” Beech said, adding that suspension or revocation of a licence could mean losing out on both EU and non-EU employees.

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