UK will lose out as EU workers hold off with settled status applications

Recruiters face losing thousands of workers on their books as new research reveals up to a third of UK-based EU nationals are yet to secure UK settled status.

Compiled by the AIRE Centre, a legal charity specialising in European law, presented its research yesterday evening at a central London event. The findings reveal over a million Europeans living in the UK haven’t yet secured their status, despite the success rate of applications to date being over 99.9%. In November, of 305,600 EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) applications, just one was refused on suitability grounds.

According to the research, many are thought to be putting off filling in their forms, don’t understand what’s expected of them or are one of 362,000 stuck in the backlog of applications being processed by the Home Office. Of this figure, the vast majority are in employment (83% of 16-65-year-olds), with the remainder thought to be children or other family members.

Commenting on the implications of the findings for recruitment agencies, Matthew Evans, director at the Aire Centre, told Recruiter: “EU nationals make up 7% of the UK labour force, and many will work directly with recruitment agencies – in particular, those working in lower-skilled roles. 

“These are precisely the employees that are most at risk of failing to secure their settled status. Many are putting off applying for settled status, as they believe their application will be rejected, when in fact just 1% do not meet the criteria. Others simply do not know they need to apply.

“It is vital that organisations seek expert advice to enable them to support their employees or clients through this process. Failing to do this could have a catastrophic effect on these individuals; from not being able to access welfare, education or healthcare to being at risk of falling victim to modern slavery and forced labour.”

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