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Phase 2 of the EU Settlement Scheme trial set to commence soon

With the UK leaving the EU on 29 March 2019, the EU Settlement Scheme provides the basis for resident EU citizens and their family members to obtain the immigration status they will need to remain in the UK. It is anticipated that EU citizens and their family members who are resident in the UK or who move to the UK before 31 December 2020 will have to submit an application by 30 June 2021. Under the scheme, applicants may be granted either settled status if they have been in the UK for five years (indefinite leave to remain) or pre-settled status (limited leave to remain) if they have not reached the five-year mark at the time of making their application.

Phase 1 of the EU Settlement Scheme trial

The Home Office conducted an initial phase testing from 28 August to 17 October, in which EU nationals from 12 NHS trusts in the north-west of England, as well as students and staff from three Liverpool universities, were invited to apply for residence documentation via the EU Settlement Scheme.

1,053 applications were received. From those, 924 decisions were made and sent out to applicants by 30 October. Based on automated checks made against HMRC data, 85 per cent of those 924 applicants did not have to provide additional evidence. The other 15 per cent had to provide additional evidence to demonstrate their residence.

Phase 2 and next steps

The second phase of private testing will commence on 1 November 2018, and will cover a much wider group of potential applicants, including those with more complex cases who may not have a complete set of government data. From 15 November students and staff at UK universities will be able to apply, and from 29 November the testing pool widens again with inclusion of workers in health and social care.

Implications for employers

With the success of Phase 1 and the announcement of Phase 2, employers should ensure their employees have access to the most up-to-date information, and understand the key elements of the EU Settlement Scheme.

Phase 2 of the EU Settlement Scheme trial set to commence soon

Harassment allegations: the catalyst for Google staff walkout

Thousands of Google staff (employees and contractors) across 50 locations walked out of their jobs on Thursday 1 November in protest at the company’s response to claims of sexual harassment and gender inequality. The demonstrations took place at the company’s offices around the world, beginning at 11.10am in Tokyo before rolling out across Europe and North America, finishing at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.

The walkout came after it emerged that Google reportedly gave Andy Rubin, a former executive, a US$90 million severance package after he left the company, despite the “credible” sexual misconduct allegations against him. It has also been reported that Andy Rubin is among a number of Google executives who have had allegations of sexual misconduct made against them.

One of the protest organisers summed up the company’s action as “the US$90 million straw that broke the camel’s back”. In the wake of the #metoo movement, recent sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump and, more recently, Sir Phillip Green, such a statement resonates with all and is no longer falling on deaf ears. Employees are now finding the courage to speak up on what appears to be a hidden issue in many workplaces.

As such, we recommend employers listen to, and do not ignore or take lightly, allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct. Employers should ensure they have sexual harassment policies in place with clear details of what constitutes sexual harassment and details of the process for reporting it safely and anonymously. This should be coupled with training to ensure all staff understand what constitutes unacceptable behaviour in the workplace. Employers must do all they can to ensure employees are kept safe and must enable employees to speak up on the issue without fear of retaliation.

Harassment allegations: the catalyst for Google staff walkout