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Employers & brexit: dealing with UK citizenship

28 March 2019 | 2 minute watch

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Employers & brexit: dealing with UK citizenship
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Employers & brexit: dealing with UK citizenship

​​​Note: We have provided a transcript of the discussion in this video if you are unable to watch the video version. This transcript is generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers and may contain errors.

James Hockin (00:11): As we all know, Brexit is something of a moving feast. We get a lot of calls from employers keen to know what they can be doing for their staff both ahead of, and following Brexit. The truth is, we're working real time on this which means we don't have all the answers. However, one area where employers can be helping their staff is in respect of immigration. Specifically securing their right to remain in the UK.

Alice Garside (00:36): Until Brexit, Europeans who've been working in the UK for at least 5 years can choose whether to apply under the current rules on the permanent residency, or under the new EU settlement scheme. Principally, the benefit of applying under the current rules on permanent residence is that people can choose which period of residency to rely on. This means that people who've been living in the UK for long enough can rely on periods of historic residency going back 6 years or more, and their aquisition of permanent residency will be back-dated at least 12 months. Potentially this provides a faster route for employees, for their family members, and importantly for their UK born children to aquire British citizenship if their permanent residency is back-dated at leaster 12 months, they could be immediately eligible to apply for citizenship.

Under the new EU settlement scheme however, applicants can't currently choose which 5 year period of residency to rely on. This means that unless they're naturalising on the basis of marriage to a British citizen they could have to wait 12 months before they become eligible to apply for citizenship.

Alice Garside (01:55): This could be a red flag for you if you want to re-depoy staff overseas. Securing British citizenship or settlement for your highly valued employees will give you the flexibility to move them in and out of the UK as needed.

James Hockin (02:12): We're in the realm of the unknown and the settlement scheme is still being amended however, by acting now to secure residency for your staff you can reduce the risks that you face. Yes, times are uncertain, but it's good to recognise that you as an employer can offer some reassurance to your staff.

As the UK's EU departure looms ever larger on the horizon employers are required to deal with a range of urgent issues that Brexit presents for their staff. As we await parliamentary decisions, what should you be doing to support your highly valued European employees who need to secure UK residency or citizenship?

Thankfully, this is an area where we can offer some clarity, both now and after the UK leaves the EU. James Hockin and Alice Garside set out some advice for employers navigating current UK immigration processes with their staff.

There are some restrictions in place for specific jurisdictions, and if you have any concerns about the citizenship process, periods of residency and eligibility, we strongly recommend that you seek legal advice promptly.

​​​Note: We have provided a transcript of the discussion in this video if you are unable to watch the video version. This transcript is generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers and may contain errors.

James Hockin (00:11): As we all know, Brexit is something of a moving feast. We get a lot of calls from employers keen to know what they can be doing for their staff both ahead of, and following Brexit. The truth is, we're working real time on this which means we don't have all the answers. However, one area where employers can be helping their staff is in respect of immigration. Specifically securing their right to remain in the UK.

Alice Garside (00:36): Until Brexit, Europeans who've been working in the UK for at least 5 years can choose whether to apply under the current rules on the permanent residency, or under the new EU settlement scheme. Principally, the benefit of applying under the current rules on permanent residence is that people can choose which period of residency to rely on. This means that people who've been living in the UK for long enough can rely on periods of historic residency going back 6 years or more, and their aquisition of permanent residency will be back-dated at least 12 months. Potentially this provides a faster route for employees, for their family members, and importantly for their UK born children to aquire British citizenship if their permanent residency is back-dated at leaster 12 months, they could be immediately eligible to apply for citizenship.

Under the new EU settlement scheme however, applicants can't currently choose which 5 year period of residency to rely on. This means that unless they're naturalising on the basis of marriage to a British citizen they could have to wait 12 months before they become eligible to apply for citizenship.

Alice Garside (01:55): This could be a red flag for you if you want to re-depoy staff overseas. Securing British citizenship or settlement for your highly valued employees will give you the flexibility to move them in and out of the UK as needed.

James Hockin (02:12): We're in the realm of the unknown and the settlement scheme is still being amended however, by acting now to secure residency for your staff you can reduce the risks that you face. Yes, times are uncertain, but it's good to recognise that you as an employer can offer some reassurance to your staff.

This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.

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