BREXIT IMPLICATION FOR EMPLOYMENT LAW
In March 2019, the UK introduced an EU Settlement Scheme to register EU nationals already residing in the UK prior to its departure from the EU.
EU Settlement Scheme
EU nationals currently employed to work in the UK can continue to do so despite Brexit. The Government's EU Settlement Scheme was introduced to allow existing EU nationals residing in the UK to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). To make use of this scheme, employees must have been in the UK by 31 December 2020, with the subsequent deadline for applications being 30 June 2021. This means that employers will be able to retain any EU nationals who are already part of their workforce (by 31 December 2020) if they apply for settled status by 30 June 2021.
Information released by the Government on 8 October 2020 shows that, from 30 March 2019 to the end of September 2020, over 4 million applications have been made to this scheme — almost 3.7 million of those applications came from England, 204,700 from Scotland, 67,200 from Wales, and 66,300 from Northern Ireland.
Points-based immigration system
The Government has announced that from 1 January 2021, EU and non-EU citizens entering the UK will be treated in the same way when they are seeking to work in this country. While there will be several routes they can seek to take in order to come and live in the UK, the route that the majority are expected to use is the “skilled worker route”. Under this new system, non-citizens who seek to work in the UK, following the end of EU free movement on 31 December 2020, will need to attain 70 points in relation to specified criteria. 50 of these points are mandatory, whilst 20 are tradeable.
Mandatory points are awarded as follows: 50 Points
• Job offer from an approved sponsor — 20 points.
• Job at the required skill level (RQF 3 or above (A Level and equivalent)) — 20 points.
• English language to a required level (this will need to be evidenced by completing a test or having a degree in English language similar to an English bachelors) — 10 points.
• The general salary threshold set by the Government on advice of the independent Migration Advisory Committee at £25,600, or
Tradable points are as follows: 20 Points
• Salary of £20,480 to £23,039 or at least 80% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher) — 0 points.
• Salary of £23,040 to £25,599 or at least 90% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher) — 10 points.
• Salary of £25,600 or above or at least the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher) — 20 points.
• Job in a shortage occupation as designated by the Migrant Advisory Committee (MAC) — 20 points.
• Education qualification: PhD in a subject relevant to the job — 10 points.
• Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job — 20 points.
Crucially, employers wanting to take on foreign workers from 1 January must apply for a sponsorship licence as soon as possible.
• EU nationals already working for the business to apply for “settled status”/ILR Under the EU Settlement Scheme before the deadline of 30 June 2021.
• Provide assistance, if possible, to those who wish to apply.
• Explore increasing the skills levels of current staff members, something that may encourage their retention and progression into roles that may be difficult to fill in future.