Yesterday marked 6 months to go until the end of free movement for EU nationals, and 12 months until the deadline for EU nationals to apply for Settled Status.
Settled Status effectively preserves the rights of EU nationals already present in the UK to make sure that they have continued rights to live and work in the UK after the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020.
The latest Home Office statistics indicate that the total number of applications received as at the end of 31 May 2020 was more than 3.6 million. The highest number of applications was from Polish nationals, closely followed by Romanian nationals. As at the end of May 2020, 3.1 million applications have been determined, with a 98% success rate (i.e. being granted settled or pre-settled status).
Individuals and their employers need to make sure that they do not overlook the huge changes which will be taking place to the UK's immigration system over the next few months as free movement ends.
In particular, employers need to be mindful that they are likely to need a sponsor licence under Tier 2 of the UK's immigration system if they want to continue to recruit non-UK national staff after 1 January 2021.
Similarly, employers will need to review and make changes to compliance arrangements for checking that employees have the right to work in the UK with effect from next year. We await formal guidance from the Government about exactly what will be required of them.