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Brexit and The Special Register… 

So, in the past few months the question I’ve been asked time and time again (but not been able to answer) is “What about my Staff who are EU Nationals? Can they Stay?” 

Previously my stock response has always been “We don’t know yet but am sure there will be a system put in place to retain people. As I uttered these words all the while hoping to goodness there would be (surely there would be?!)

And so now we know, or kind of know… Mrs May has announced there will be the introduction of a ‘Special Register’ (not sure if I like the name but hey-ho). It will apparently be arranged on a reciprocal arrangement with other European countries (ie the European counterparts have got to agree to it too) whereby EU Nationals can apply online to stay in the UK – they will then have the same rights as any other non-eu national who has lived here for the past 5-years.

There are, of course, a few things worthy of note;

1. You’ve got to be here legally in the first place (but since, as part of the EU, we have ‘free movement of workers’ not sure what that means exactly – maybe that you are not wanted as a fugitive back in your own country!)

2. They talk to HMRC documents and pay slips being referred to which seems to suggest a period of having earned and paying taxes.

3. She says spouses can only come if you earn a minimum of £18,600 (as at time of writing – suspect that figure will change from time to time if not annually). Note also this appeared to be contradicted by what Mrs May actually said in her speech so that’s a bit confusing.

4. If you haven’t been here for 5-years you can ‘build-up’ to applying for the ‘settled status’ so clearly there shall be levels of entry / residing in the UK.

Some uncertainties are; Voting rights, Healthcare, Professional qualifications and what’s considered acceptable here in the UK. The rights of the self employed.

Summary

So thats it – in essence there will be something – a sort of online application where you can apply for ‘settled status’ – it seems to me you have to have been here earning and paying taxes for a period of time. The need to apply hasn’t kicked in yet and wont until the ‘cut-off’ date has been set.

Any EU Nationals who want to sign up for updates on the situation direct from the Government can register HERE

LJ Milne 27 June 2017

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