It looks increasingly likely that the UK will leave the European Union without a deal on October 31st.
It was reported in the press last week that in the event of a 'no-deal' Brexit, Priti Patel, the new Home Secretary, proposes to end the free movement of people immediately after 31st October 2019 - without any transition period - and to impose border controls in relation to EU nationals.
However, since this announcement, the government’s plans to end freedom of movement at midnight on October 31 have been torn up after lawyers warned that ministers risked losing a court case that would derail no-deal preparations.
So what's actually going on..
It seems to be a movable feast at the moment with no concrete answers to any questions. As it stands the earlier plans seem to be in place which grant freedom of movement until January 2021.
However, given the volatility of the situation - if you're an EU national we encourage you to register for the EU Settlement Scheme as soon as possible. We are actively encouraging all of our graduate candidates to apply as soon as they can.
What is the EU settlement scheme?
The EU settlement scheme is for all EU nationals currently residing in the UK and who want to continue living and working in the UK. If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you and your family can apply to the EUSettlement Scheme to continue living in the UK. You will be applying to get either settled or pre-settled status.
The change that is being reported would not affect the 1 million EU nationals in the UK who have already been granted Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status under the government’s EU Settlement Scheme, but it's estimated that there are over 2 million other EU nationals who are entitled to apply but who have not yet done so. If that could be you, we urge you to take a look at the government website asap.
What is the timing on this?
The EU Settlement Scheme remains open and states that EU nationals have until 31st December 2020 to apply.
What does this mean for EU graduates?
While the situation is still unclear, our advice is that if you are an EU national who has not yet applied under the Settlement Scheme, we strongly recommend you do this and encourage you to apply to the Scheme as soon as possible. You can apply to the scheme through the government's website.
Should employers be wary of employing EU Nationals?
As long as the candidate has applied to the Settlement agreement and has either pre-settled or settled status the recruitment process can be followed as normal. Employers should also keep an eye on the news, and advise all existing EU National employees of the potential risks of leaving the country if a hard border is in place and they don't have settled or pre-settled status. In our experience, most EU nationals are very aware of it, and if they plan to continue to live in the UK they will have already applied to the Scheme.
How will it affect DigitalGrads?
For the short-term we will continue to vet candidates and perform right-to-work checks. We will also be encouraging EU Nationals to sign-up to the agreement and we will add whether they have done so or not to their profile.
As any further information comes to light about the detail of these proposed restrictions on free movement, we will keep you updated about what we propose to do at DigitalGrads.
If you're ready to get started head over to our hiring platform and check out our talent pool who are ready and raring to go!