From a recent study commissioned by The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) 54% of teachers felt unsupported in discussing Brexit with their students.
For many schools, the day-to-day obligations imposed on them as a Tier 4 sponsor is enough to keep anyone busy, but with Brexit on the horizon there is a new pool of students to consider. Since 23 June 2016 the whispers and presumptions of what Brexit means has been constant and at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Although there is still a lot of work to do, it is clear the UK and EU intend to agree a reasonable deal for European citizens living in the UK.
So, what do we know so far?
The Brexit transition period will end on 31 December 2020 and during this time, EU nationals will continue to be permitted to enter the UK to work and study.
EU nationals already in the UK by 29 March 2019 or those entering the UK for a period of three months or more during the transition period will be required to register their status, through submission of an application for either Temporary or Settled status.
Applying for Temporary Status: This application is applicable to those EU nationals who have been in the UK for less than five years by 31 December 2020. Upon completing five years in the UK, an EU national may then apply for Settled Status.
Applying for Settled Status: This application is applicable to those EU nationals who have lived in the UK for at least five years before 31 December 2020. If an EU national already holds a UK permanent residence document, they must still apply under this category.
Fragomen has had the opportunity to attend a demonstration of the application system, which contrary to the current visa application system is designed to be user friendly with fewer documentary requirements. The application fee, although not confirmed, is anticipated to be below £100 (or free of charge to those already in possession of a UK permanent residency document).
Can the non-EU family members of EU nationals apply?
Yes. The registration process is designed to ensure Brexit does not impact the family unit of those already in the UK by the end of the transition period.
The application process will differ slightly to that of an EU national, as non-EU nationals will be requested to submit their biometric data (photograph and fingerprints) and additional documentation.
How important is planning?
Although no application can be filed at this time, it would prudent to discuss the registration process with parents and staff currently in the UK.
We are seeing employers approach the registration process in many ways; ranging from offering full support with payment of application fees to those doing nothing. Many of your students will likely fall into the category where the parent’s employer will offer some form of support or the parents will complete the process themselves. However, for those children in the UK independently from their parents, plans should be made as to whether the school will be an active part of the registration process.
Although Brexit negotiations are yet to be concluded for EU nationals entering the UK post 31 December 2020, thought should also be given to updating school literature during the transition period for prospective parents from the EU.
Although the application system is not expected to go live until autumn 2018, initial discussions with your EU student and employee population is a positive first step.