The EU settlement scheme has been open to the public since March 30th 2019 - when the UK was originally scheduled to leave the EU before two extensions were put in place. The idea behind the scheme is to allow EU citizens that are already living and working in the UK to stay in the country post-Brexit. EU, other EEA and Swiss citizens can apply by June 30th 2021 if the UK leaves the EU with a deal, or by December 31st 2020 if the UK leaves without a deal.
“The single most important preparation that a business can make is to ensure that it engages its EU staff early on and reassure them that there is a route to stay beyond Brexit,” says Konrad Shek, strategic policy adviser at the Advertising Association. This is especially true given the uncertainty over whether freedom of movement will end if the UK exits the EU without a deal.
Konrad also notes that, while the EU Settlement Scheme focuses more on the employee than the employer, there are some ways that businesses can help more directly than just offering encouragement to apply. “There is a lot of information and guidance on the GOV.UK website about the criteria for application,” he says, “but sometimes employers can show that they are concerned for their EU staff’s welfare and signpost them to the correct information.”
Completing the application has been made as simple as possible for people affected. The three key steps needed to be completed are proving their identity, showing that they live in the UK, and declaring any criminal convictions.
There have been critical reports of the scheme claiming that it is only available via an app that’s exclusively available on Android. This isn’t true. The Identity Document Check App is only available on Android but applying in this way is entirely optional - it’s just one of several ways people can verify their identity, including by post.
There are over 80 locations where applicants can have their passport scanned and verified across the UK. Assisted digital support is available at over 300 locations, supplemented by a network of over 65 tutors who provide in-home support, and there is also a dedicated telephone advice and support service for the Scheme.
During public testing of the EU Settlement Scheme 95% of applicants successfully used the app to prove their identity remotely, removing the need for them to submit their identity document to the Home Office for manual verification.
Currently, Apple iPhone users are not able to use their device to self-verify their identity using the App because it is the present policy of Apple not to allow any third-party access to the iPhone ‘ID chip’. However, the home secretary has confirmed that the App will be available on Apple devices later this year
Should you or any of your employees run into any issues during the settlement application, the Advertising Association suggests that you visit the GOV.UK website
on the EUSS or ring the dedicated telephone advice service - dubbed the EU Settlement Resolution Centre
- on 0300 123 7379 for more information.