Employees in Britain who want to remain within the country after Brexit should be offered the option of doing via a new UK visa, rather than having to become citizens, according to new government guidance.
A document released to the European Commission has revealed plans for a new system of allowing EU nationals to apply for UK visas and settled status, which the government has suggested will be streamlined and low cost.
According to the document, this new UK immigration option will allow EU nationals lawful residence in Britain if they have been living in the country legally for five years or more without a break.
As a result of the new system, EU nationals will be able to prove their right to work in Britain to any current or potential employers, which should reassure those living in the UK when Brexit takes effect.
Commenting on the document, Gerwyn Davies, CIPD senior labour market adviser, has suggested that the system should be the equivalent cost of gaining a UK passport and should not be refused based on “minor technicalities”.
“Overall, it suggests that EU nationals will not have to go down the costly route of citizenship because they will have the same rights as UK nationals with this settled status document,” he said.
Chris Brazier, business immigration lawyer at B P Collins, has warned that it’s important for employers to communicate these developments to any EU nationals in their employ to ensure they understand their options.
He added: “This includes informing them of the preparatory steps they should be taking to evidence their residence in the UK under the proposed settled status or under the current permanent residence route.”