Now the UK has left the European Union, all EU citizens must apply under the scheme by June 30, 2021 to continue to live and work in the country. Failure to do so could result in EU citizens being deported.
The Settled Status Scheme, which is free to apply for, is open to applications from nationals from the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland who are already resident in the UK.
Successful applicants will either be given settled status if they have lived in the UK for a continuous five-year period, or pre-settled status if they have been here for less time than that; this can be converted into settled status once they have passed the five-year mark.
Receiving settled or pre-settled status will allow applicants to work in the UK, access health care, social services, study and claim benefits, if they are eligible for them.
The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) managing director Matt Knight encouraged farmers to check that their foreign workers have applied for the scheme sooner rather than later.
“It is important dairy farmers employing EU nationals make sure they have applied for the scheme by June 30,” he said.
“It is expected there will be a big rush of applications over the next few months before the deadline, and there could also be a backlog because of Covid-19, so I would encourage you to do that now.
If one of your EU workers fails to apply by the deadline, they will become an unlawful resident in the UK and could be asked to return back to their home country.
“We would encourage you to help them through the application process,” he concluded.