Thursday, January 20

Employers warned not to discriminate in the rush to obtain EU settled status | Brexit

The Brexit rights regulator has warned companies and public bodies not to discriminate against EU citizens when the new post-Brexit immigration regime takes effect at midnight.

The warnings come as Home Office helplines for EU citizens applying for immigration were reported to be ‘bogged down’ by a last-minute spike in EU citizens applying to stay in the UK, and charity workers helping applicants said they were also struggling to reach the hotline reserved for counselors.

Applicants spoke of making multiple unsuccessful attempts to pass; once connected, they described waiting for more than two hours to speak with an adviser from the Interior Ministry.

The Independent Monitoring Authority, the statutory body created to protect the rights of EU citizens after Brexit, sent a reminder to employers to heed the law amid reports that some workers were being threatened with the dismissed or removed from housing waiting lists if they did not. know the result of your request before July 1.

“If EU citizens feel that their rights have been, or are likely to be violated, they should complain directly to the public body in question,” said Kathryn Chamberlain, Executive Director of IMA.

However, a major city law firm has warned that 59-page guide to the right to work issued by the government two weeks ago is “so complicated” that the employer and employee can innocently make life-changing mistakes. Under the guidance, employers are not required to carry out “retrospective” checks on EU citizens to ensure that they have the right to work after July 1.

But Ian Robinson, a partner at London immigration law firm Fragomen, said this could mean that those who have gone unnoticed suddenly find themselves losing a job when it is finally discovered that they do not have the correct status.

“They may have arrived after January 1 this year and were told that a European passport on the first day of employment was sufficient for a right to work check and they thought they were fine,” he said. “If an employer detects this, they will probably have to fire the employee and the employee will have to leave and try to get a skilled worker visa from their home country.”

Robinson, who used to work at the Home Office, also notes that these right-to-work controls only apply for the remainder of 2021.

“Starting early next year, if an employer discovers that a person has no status, they will probably have to fire them,” he said. “There is no option for them to continue working. That worries me and we are just kicking the trouble down the road. “

Katie Good, an associate attorney for Fragomen, said some clients could also go unnoticed because they were unable to submit their application on time for technical reasons.

The charities said they were dealing with a particularly steep increase in EU national parents rushing to apply for immigration status for UK-born children, without previously realizing this was necessary.

Advisers working for charities that support EU citizens to secure EU settled status before the deadline said that many people had expressed alarm after belatedly realizing that they needed to submit an application. Seniors, people with mental health issues, vulnerable people with low computer skills and children were among those trying to submit late applications, according to Kate Smart, CEO of the Settled charity, a charity that offers counseling to EU citizens in the UK.

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry said that more than five million people had already been granted some kind of status. “EU citizens who have submitted a valid application before June 30 will have their rights protected by law and will be issued an application certificate, which can be presented to employers and owners and verified by our check service”, they added.

The Interior Ministry said there had been an increase in applications from under 18s due to recent targeted campaigns, and emphasized that if a parent did not apply on their behalf, they would be given an additional opportunity to apply.

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