Similarly, Japanese banks told the UK Government at the end of last year that they will be moving operations to the EU by this summer if clarity regarding the UK’s access to the single market is not forthcoming.
But what about those from the EU that want to stay? It will take some time, possibly at least two years, before any new laws are imposed once Article 50 is triggered and there are steps HR professionals can take now to help EU workers cement their Permanent Residence. Just don’t get complacent.
Jonathan Beech, Managing Director of Migrate UK, a specialist immigration law firm, tells us: “It may seem some time before restrictions are imposed on EU nationals living and working in the UK but with many EU workers and their employers thinking the same thing and applications for Permanent Residence and British nationality needing to follow strict criteria, it’s best not to leave it too late.”
He gave us his three rules to remember to secure your EU workers’ future in Britain.
Time before you can apply
“Under current law, EU passport holders can enter the UK free of immigration restrictions for at least three months but after this time they must become a ‘qualified person’ such as in employment, to be eligible for residence and British citizen status.
“We have EU clients that have lived and worked in the UK for more than ten years many of whom are highly educated and highly skilled from sectors like finance, banking and engineering. They assumed that their length of time in the country meant that they’re automatically considered permanent residents but this isn’t the case - you must apply to get official status.
“Before applying, in most circumstances, your workers must have been in the UK for five consecutive years as a qualified person. If they’ve been absent from the UK for more than 180 days (six months roughly) per year in any of those five continuous years, then they won’t qualify. There are allowances to this rule such as those with serious health issues that require medical care overseas, but the circumstances must be exceptional.
“There are also restrictions on the right of entry and residence on the grounds of public policy, security and health. For example, someone with an unspent custodial sentence will not qualify.”
The other two rules can be seen on the next page...