Further political unrest and uncertainty lies ahead with today's announcement about a snap general election this coming June despite calls from the business world for stability and certainty following the Brexit vote and subsequent developments. So what then can be done by employersto try to protect their businesses and offer support to the EU nationals working for them.
First recommended action would be to conduct an audit of theEU workforce if that has not already been done. Family members should be included in that audit as obviously this may be crucial to the continued employment status shoudl there be any dubiaty regarding qualification for residency. Periods of residence should be identified in precise detail ( and vouched ) in order to consider whether they can meet the threshold of the 5 years residency requirements. All employees should have evidence of their residency and that of the qualifying category ie : employment, self employment, self sufficiency or student status.
Evidence should also be engathered regarding periods of absence from the UK and to identify whether there are any periods over the permissible 6 months in any 12 month period over the specific 5 years being relied upon. Should this become problematic then specialist advice should be sought as it is possible to use a 5 year period where the residency requirements can be met with the necessary qualifying conditions.
Where employees clearly meet the qualifying criteria then it is recommended that they be encouraged to apply for permanent residency.
Where employees have resided lawfully for 6 years in the UK, then applications for British Citizenship could be considered but only once an application for permanent residency has been made.
Reference is also made to a previous post on this blog : http://www.mcgillandco.co.uk/Blog/2017/3/6/eea-citizens-living-in-the-uk-permanent-residency