Important update for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals and staff working remotely in the EU
21 May 2021
The window for applying for Pre-Settled and Settled Status for EEA and Swiss nationals under the EU Settlement Scheme closes on 30 June 2021.
This message is particularly important for:
- Existing employees who are EEA or Swiss nationals but do not have Pre-Settled or Settled Status, Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK or Irish or British Citizenship.
- Employees working remotely in the EU
Although, there is no obligation on employers to recheck the right to work status of existing employees, it is important that EEA and Swiss nationals residing and/or working in the UK have the appropriate permissions to do so. This will be vital if they obtain a new job in the UK or when travelling to the UK from abroad.
It is the employee’s responsibility to ensure they have the relevant travel and right to work documentation. Employees entering the UK from abroad may be required to prove their right to live and/or work in the UK at the UK borders. We have read reports in the national media, that some EU nationals have experienced difficulties when entering the UK because they have not been able to prove their status and we are urging all EEA and Swiss national employees who do not yet have the appropriate right to live and work in the UK from 1 July 2021, to apply for settlement before the EU Settlement Scheme closes on 30 June 2021 (or acquire whatever immigration permissions that secures their ongoing right to work).
There are several options available to EEA and Swiss nationals who do not currently have pre-settled or settled status, indefinite leave to remain in the UK, or Irish or British Citizenship, who plan to continue living and/or working in the UK:
- Apply for Pre-Settled or Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme – for those who started living in the UK by 31 December 2020. The deadline for applications is 30 June 2021. Please note that if you have employees who have been working remotely outside of the UK, their eligibility to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme may be affected if they have been outside of the UK for more than 180 days in the 12 months. Staff working remotely in the EU may wish to consider returning to the UK before 180 days.
- Apply for a Frontier Worker Permit – for those not normally resident in the UK but commuting to work in the UK. To be eligible, such individuals must have visited the UK to work before the 31 December 2020 but should live outside the UK for more than 180 days in any 12-month period. Frontier workers will need a permit to enter the UK to work from 1 July 2021.
- Applying for Citizenship – provided staff meet the relevant eligibility criteria they may choose to apply for British Citizenship
In the unfortunate event that an employee is prevented from entering the UK because they do not have the relevant right to live and work in the UK, it could ultimately jeopardise their continuing employment with UCL. UCL cannot legally continue to employ an individual where we have been notified by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) (or other official routes) that they do not have the right to work in the UK.
Employees working remotely in the EU
There are strict tax, social security and employment laws in some EU countries and UCL is not registered as an employer nor has payroll arrangements outside of the UK. There may be significant financial penalties for UCL or the employee if found be working in an EU country without the appropriate permissions. There may also be occupational pension eligibility issues if pension members are not working in the UK. As a result, UCL cannot agree to staff working remotely in the EU on a long-term basis. Staff will be required to return to work in the UK as the campus re-opens, unless special arrangements have been expressly approved by the department and HR Division.
Executive Director of Human Resources