As the UK has now left the European Union, it is worth considering how your independent school will ensure compliance with future immigration rules.
- What should we be doing to prepare?
From 30 June 2021, all EU nationals must hold one of two statuses – settlement status or pre-settlement status. Settled Status is confirmation for EU nationals who have lived in the UK for five or more years, pre-settled status is for those EEU nationals who have lived in the UK for less than that time.
EU nationals will need to take three steps:
- prove their identity,
- prove they live in the UK, and
- disclose they have no ‘serious criminal convictions’.
Independent Schools are advised that assistance is offered to employees and volunteers, and indeed any individual affected within their school community. Many EU nationals remain unaware of the need to pursue confirmation of their status. The impact of not applying is yet unknown. It is essential that European students and staff at your school are aware and have registered under the scheme. EU citizens resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 can apply to settle in the UK through the EU Settlement Scheme until June 2021.All employers will of course have conducted right to work checks for their current employees, and they will be able to obtain a list of EU national employees from this list. It is suggested that action is taken now to ensure compliance in the future.
- What system will be in place going forwards?
EU free movement law will remain in place until 31 December 2020. From 1 January 2021, free movement will end and the government’s points-based system will be introduced. The government has said that the new single global system will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally and will give top priority to those with the highest skills and talents. This is explained further in the government’s policy statement (here). Student visa routes will also be points-based and apply to EU citizens. The government has said that the Home Office will publish further details on the points-based immigration system in due course. Independent Schools will need to sit and wait for further information as to what is in store.
This will most likely bring about change as to how employers can employ European nationals. Although it is almost certain that European nationals wishing to study in the UK will require sponsorship. State schools cannot offer sponsorship and therefore there is likely to be a greater demand on Independent Schools’ licences to sponsor more students.
In the meantime, to ensure compliance, we suggest that your school ensures European students and staff have registered under the Settlement Scheme.