UK immigration minister: Almost impossible for employers to know which EU citizens can stay post Brexit
LONDON — Employers will find it “almost impossible” to identify European Union citizens with the right to work in the U.K. but who have not yet secured the new “settled status,” the U.K.s immigration minister said Tuesday.
Caroline Nokes said U.K. employers would still be expected to check employees have a right to work in the country through a new “employers digital check,” but admitted there is “absolutely going to be a difficulty” in differentiating between “those who have been here and not been through the [settled status] process and those who have come as visitors and then seek to work.”
The U.K. government would take a “pragmatic approach,” Nokes told the House of Commons home affairs select committee, but admitted the situation would present an “enormous challenge” for both employers and EU citizens with the right to work to make sure they go through the settled status scheme efficiently so that they can prove their status.
Under the U.K. governments plans, EU citizens will have to prove their identity, whether they have criminal convictions and whether they live in the U.K if they want to continue living and working in the country post Brexit.
It expects around 3.5 million applications for the new status, which will be granted to EU citizens and family members who have been in the U.K. for five years by the end of 2020.
The U.K. government has set up the application process online and through a smartphone app.
But Nokes also confirmed that the “chip checker” needed for the application only works on Android phones. She claimed this is “Apples choice,” but added the U.K. Home Office has been working closely with the phone manufacturer to “encourage them to move to a position” where they would allow the technology to be used on their devices.