EU Settlement scheme fees: who pays?
By Teni Shahiean, CEO at OTS Solicitors
At first glance, the EU settlement scheme fees do not sound that much. The fee is £65 per adult and £32.50 per child. However, for a family of two adults and two children that is £260 to find. Not a small amount if you are a low paid EU migrant worker.
An increasing number of employers are realising that the compulsory settlement fees and the application process will affect their EU migrant workforce. That is not good news for employers at a time of low unEmployment figures and pressure building for wage rises.
The top London immigration solicitors and employers are recognising that it is not just about the settlement fees and application forms. The politics of Brexit and, more importantly, the uncertainty, is not only affecting Immigration numbers but also the sense of security of the existing EU migrant workforce.
How does an employer measure staff happiness and feelings of security? Staff wellbeing is something that a good employer and their human resource manager works hard to monitor and improve.
Many employers are recognising that the settlement scheme charges will adversely affect their EU employees and are offering to pay the fees for them. So far, universities, National Health Service trusts and hospitals, airports and pub chains have set up schemes to pay the fees. In addition, some employers are setting up sessions with employees to help them complete their paperwork within the work environment.
How can OTS Solicitors help?
OTS Solicitors are specialist Immigration and employment law solicitors. We work with small businesses and large companies to meet all your Immigration and employment law needs. From Sponsor Licence applications, revocations and suspension representation, visa applications, right to work checks, tribunal claims and representation, Immigration rule compliance and training to help business keep up with fast-paced changing Immigration and employment law. For a discussion about how OTS Solicitors can help your business call us on 0203 959 9123.
The EU settlement scheme
Everyone from the European Union who wants to continue to live and work in the UK after Brexit, and his or her dependants, will need to make a settlement scheme application and pay the fee.
The application is to register the applicant’s Immigration status as either:
• EU national with settled status through five years UK residence; or
• EU national with pre-settled status.
For employers with:
• A large EU workforce; and
• Predominantly unskilled and low paid workers; and
• Recognised difficulties in replacing EU workers with UK nationals because of the low unEmployment figures.
It pays to be proactive in helping EU workers with the settlement scheme. However, for some large companies and public bodies it is estimated that the settlement scheme bill could run into several hundred thousand pounds if the employer foots the bill. The best London immigration solicitors have been asked about alternate options but they are limited. After all, the cost of recruiting new UK or even replacement EU workers is likely to be a lot more than paying the settlement scheme fees for the workforce.
Who pays for the settlement scheme?
The question then is how are the costs of the settlement scheme passed along? For the National Health Service trusts who have said, they will pay some of the settlement scheme fees, how will that affect the money available for patient care and operations? From the best Immigration solicitors point of view, the National Health Service trust decision may make economic sense, given the costs of staff recruitment, but the media and public may not see it that way.
Likewise, for the airports and public houses, who employ many low paid migrant EU workers; will the cost of a flight from the UK or the price of a pint of beer rise if the businesses have to absorb the cost of settlement fees?
For companies that are not reliant on large numbers of EU migrant workers the problems can be just as acute. The best London immigration solicitors are already aware that employers have struggled to fill some well-paid skilled roles because of the reduction in Immigration numbers. For high paid skilled EU migrants the issue of the settlement scheme is not so much the cost of the scheme fees but the uncertainty that surrounds Brexit and the welcome they will receive in the UK.
Who does not have to pay the settlement scheme fees?
The best London solicitors advise that EU migrants and citizens who:
• Hold a valid UK permanent residence document; or
• Are applying from April 2019 to change from pre-settled status to settled status; or
• Are children in local authority care.
will not have to pay the settlement scheme fees.
How can employers help?
The feedback received from the top London immigration solicitors is that the concern of EU migrants is not just about paying the settlement scheme fees. It is the hassle and bureaucracy involved in completing more forms and the uncertainties of living in the UK post Brexit as an EU migrant.
Some employers, recognising how valuable their EU migrant workforce is, are setting up schemes to help with the form filling and looking at their staff engagement policies to help ensure that the bureaucracy of the settlement scheme does not reduce their migrant workforce.
How can OTS Solicitors help?
OTS Solicitors specialise in Immigration and employment law for businesses and individuals.
OTS Solicitors regularly advises employers in connection with all aspects of Immigration and employment law including Sponsor Licences, Tier 2 Certificates of Sponsorship, right to work checks, settlement scheme and regulation and compliance issues.
OTS Solicitors provides legal advice as well as bespoke Immigration and employment law training packages for companies.
For more information and to find out how OTS Solicitors can help your organisation meet its Immigration and employment law responsibilities please call us on 0203 959 9123.