Right to work checks, the Queen’s Speech, an EU settlement scheme update and the shortage occupation list are all covered in this month’s edition of Immigration Law Update October 2019.
Brexit and right to work checks
As we wait to see whether the new withdrawal agreement is ratified by both the UK and EU Parliaments, we are getting a lot of questions about right to work checks after Brexit.
The Government has confirmed that whether there is a deal or no deal, right to work check requirements will not change until 1 January 2021. This means that employers can continue to accept an EU passport or identity card as evidence of right to work after Brexit. There is no obligation to check whether the individual has applied for pre-settled or settled status.
In cases where the individual does hold pre-settled or settled status, instead of producing their passport or ID card, they may choose to provide the employer with a ‘right to work share code’. This is used in conjunction with their date of birth, to download digital confirmation of their right to work.
If completing a digital check, it is essential to do so through the employer’s portal. Employers cannot rely on the individual showing them a decision email, or a copy of their part of the portal.
Birketts offers a right to work check master class. If you would like to arrange a refresher for your team then please contact Clare Hedges, Senior Associate, Head of Immigration.
Following the Queen’s Speech of 14 October 2019 we are expecting a new Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill. This is supposed to end free movement, “lay the foundation for a far, modern and global immigration system” and reinforce the Government’s commitment “to ensuring that resident European citizens, who have built their lives in, and contributed so much to, the United Kingdom, have the right to remain”. We await the details and of course it remains to be seen if any bill can become law before a potential General Election.
If you wish to influence future immigration policy, we do recommend that you engage with the call for evidence issued by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC). The deadline for responses is 9:00am on 5 November 2019.
EU settlement scheme update
On 9 October 2019, the Home Secretary announced that there have now been over 2 million applications for pre-settled or settled status. Particularly high numbers of applications have been made by Polish, Romanian and Italian citizens.
More than half a million applications were received in September, perhaps reflecting the fact that many people were waiting until after the summer holiday period to apply.
As at the end of September 2019, more than 1.5 million people had been granted status under the scheme. Of those 61% were granted settled status, 38% were granted pre-settled status, and two applications were refused on suitability grounds. This is likely to be due to the applicants having a very serious criminal record.
As we approach 31 October 2019, the Government is ramping up its advertising campaign regarding the scheme. Unfortunately it seems these communications will all be in English, so may not be that effective at reaching all relevant communities.
We understand that the identity document checker App is now available for iPhone 8 (and newer models) and will shortly become available on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus following a software update.
Archaeologists missing from new shortage occupation list
The new shortage occupation list is now in force (see our September update with further details). Unfortunately, in the rush to lay the new Immigration Rules before Parliament was prorogued, archaeologists were omitted from the new list, despite the Migration Advisory Committee recommending their inclusion.
The Home Office has acknowledged the oversight, confirming in the updated Tier 2 policy guidance that archaeologists (falling under SOC code 2114 Social and humanities scientists) are to be treated as though appearing in Appendix K of the Immigration Rules, until such time as the Rules are updated.
These articles are from the October 2019 issue of Employment and Immigration Law Update, our monthly newsletter for HR professionals. To download the latest issue, please visit the newsletter section of our website. For more details regarding any of the matters covered in this update, please contact Janice Leggett in our Immigration Team. Law covered as at October 2019.
The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at October 2019.