With recent changes to the EU Settlement Scheme, UK businesses might be wondering what this means for their workforce. The answer is, not much, but there are some things that you should be mindful of going forward.


The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) was introduced to provide a streamlined process for EU citizens residing in the UK to secure their immigration status post-Brexit.

Through the scheme, those who had been living in the UK for five years or more could secure Settled Status, which grants them indefinite leave to live, work and study in the UK. Those who had been living in the UK for fewer than five years could apply for Pre-Settled status, a temporary status that would allow them to remain in the UK until they had lived there for long enough to qualify for settled status. They would have to apply for settled status or their pre-settled status would lapse, meaning they would need to return home.

Recent changes to the EUSS

As of September 2023, if a person has pre-settled status in the UK under the EUSS they will have their status automatically extended by two years before it expires, without needing to make an application to the Home Office. The extension will be reflected in their digital status via their UKVI account. They will be notified of the extension by the Home Office directly by email. Once the extension has been granted, their pre-settled status rights will continue.

In addition, from 2024, the Home Office plans to automatically convert pre-settled status to settled status, for those who are eligible. This means that they are not required to make an application for this change to occur.

Implications for UK businesses

These changes to the EU Settlement Scheme do not have any large implications for UK businesses who are employing EU citizens with pre-settled status, but sponsor licence holders should remain cognisant of their duties and responsibilities.

One of those responsibilities is conducting right to work checks on all prospective employees. Employers must stay updated with the latest government guidance regarding the EU Settlement Scheme. Complying with employment verification requirements and conducting continuous residence checks are essential to avoid potential legal consequences.

Retaining talented employees who may be uncertain about their immigration status is crucial. Providing support and guidance throughout the application process will enhance employee loyalty and reduce talent loss.

Steps for those with pre-settled status

Those with pre-settled status should take the following steps:

  1. If they have been living continuously in the UK for at least five years, they should apply for settled status, as soon as they are eligible to do so. They do not need to wait for an extension. The five-year period usually begins the day they started their continuous residence in the UK, not the day they were granted pre-settled status. Different rules may apply to family members.
  2. Ensure their digital status is up-to-date, especially if they have obtained a new passport or changed their email address since obtaining this status.
  3. Maintain residence records to demonstrate continuous residence in the UK, in case automated government records do not contain sufficient data to show eligibility for settled status under the EUSS.

If you are employing workers from the EU, get in touch with our knowledgeable business immigration consultants, who will be able to make sure that you do not breach any immigration laws. Contact us on workpermits@sableinternational.com or give us a call on  +44 (0) 20 7759 5420. 

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