Government Policy Update: 2.1 million EU nationals with Pre-Settled Status will have their Right to Work immigration status altered by the Government from September 2023 onwards. But what does this mean for UK Employers and recruiters?
The UK Government’s assumption that EU Pre-Settled Status workers should apply for settled status has been ruled unlawful by the High Courts. As a consequence of this decision, their rights to live and work in the UK will change, in many cases, automatically.
This means that UK employers will need to understand what’s happening and take action to ensure they remain compliant and, importantly, communicate to their employees about what is going on as some may not be aware of the changes, which in summary are:
- Current Rules: Individuals with Pre-Settled Status need to ‘apply’ for Settled Status before their Pre-settled status expires, or they’ll lose the right to live and work in the UK because they were not allowed to extend their Pre-Settled status.
- Rules from September 2023: Individuals with Pre-Settled Status will be ‘automatically extended’ by two years upon current expiry, which means that their Pre-settled status will not expire, and a formal application for settled status does need to be made.
Detailed Breakdown of the new changes
Below, we’ve detailed a more in-depth breakdown of the upcoming changes and what they will mean for you and your team:
- From September 2023, individuals with PRE-SETTLED STATUS will automatically have their Visas extended by two years before their current Visa expires.
- From 2024, the Government will start AUTOMATICALLY converting PRE-SETTLED to EU SETTLED STATUS provided they can determine that they qualify, which can be seen from existing information held.
- The AUTOMATIC conversion from Pre-settled to settled status will only go ahead if the individual qualifies, and they can see this from existing information held by the Government. As an example, National Insurance (NI) details and other data. The key qualifying rules will remain the same: (A) Lived in the UK for five years continuously. (B) Only left the UK for a maximum of 180 days in any one year. (C) No criminal convictions.
- Where the Government cannot determine the conversion to settled status using their own records (i.e. NOT automatic), we understand that the Government will contact the individuals directly to provide additional supporting information.
- The Home Office still needs to explain what will happen to individuals with (A) Visas that expire before September 2023. (B) Visas that will have a two-year extension applied (C) How employers should treat employees who currently have Pre-settled status checks on file. However, employers will likely need to conduct rechecks on pre-settled employees.
- We expect the Home Office to update the Employers Guide with more information regarding this automatic extension in due course.
Regarding the update, Rightcheck’s Paul Herring said, “Whilst this was announced last month, we’re still waiting for the Government to update the Employer’s Guide with official instructions, including what steps companies and especially HR teams should take.”
What action do you need to take?
If you’re tasked with overseeing HR or compliance within your business, here are the steps you need to take to be ready for the upcoming changes.
- Identify your employees with PRE-SETTLED STATUS now: We suggest you establish if they are aware of the changes described above and ask them to check that their Home Office online immigration account contact details are current and up to date.
- Please review the list of employees with PRE-SETTLED STATUS and their expiry dates: Establish which employees fall before September 2023 or after, as when the Employers Guide is updated, this will be useful information when the employee’s guide is updated.
- Prepared to recheck those who currently have Pre-Settled Stats: The new expiry date likely has to be recorded, with another check undertaken every two years until such times as they are granted Settled Status.
With further announcements expected throughout August, in the build-up to the change in legislation in September, the best action you can take is to Monitor Home Office Updates.
You can do this by visiting the Home Office website or subscribing to our blog on our website, and as soon as any updates are announced, you’ll be notified directly via your inbox.
Rightcheck Customers - Here’s what you need to know
If you’re a customer of Rightcheck, you can be confident that you’ll be ready for the Home Office update in September 2023, by knowing:
- We will notify all administrators on or before the official Home Office publication update.
- In the meantime, you can run a report from your HR Web Portal to show which employees will be affected by the changes and when their Pre-settled status will expire.
- If the Home Office rule changes, your Rightcheck platform will automatically update to ensure you remain compliant with the latest rules and regulations.
Need more support?
With the first pool of people potentially impacted from next month (September 2023), this news is still developing, so don’t forget to subscribe to our blog to be kept up-to-date with the latest news, including an update the moment the employee’s guide is updated to reflect this automatic extension.
For questions regarding these changes and their impacts, please contact our Right To Work Specialists at email@example.com or call us on 02476 158 830.