Hiring PA’s after Brexit

Many of the personal care assistants looking after our members are originally from Europe – how will Brexit affect their employment rights?

As the UK heads towards Brexit, the right to free movement ends at the end of 2020. This means that EU citizens will no longer be able to come to the UK to work without certain requirements being fulfilled. They will instead be treated in the same way as non-EU citizens.

As our members will know, there are many hardworking EU citizens within the care system, so will they still be able to work here, and will you need to do anything different if you want to employ them?

Let’s break this down into different categories:

EU citizens who are UK residents

If your PA was a UK resident before 31 October 2019, they have, until now, been able to stay without their rights being affected, To continue to stay in the UK, they must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. This will give them the option of two different statuses:

  • Settled status – for those with five years of continuous UK residency. They will be able to stay indefinitely and will be able to apply to be a British citizen.
  • Pre-settled status – for those who have not had five years of continuous UK residency. This status lasts for up to five years, after which time they can apply for settled status.

For both categories, they must apply by 30 June 2021. If they have not applied for a visa by this date then any employment they undertake will be considered unlawful. The employee is responsible for organising their application.

EU citizens who came to the UK after 31 October 2019 should have applied to the European Temporary Leave To Remain scheme (also called the Euro TLR). When the new immigration system is introduced (see below) Euro TLR holders should be able to transition into the new immigration system.

New immigration system

The new system is rather like the Australian immigration points system, where you gain points for certain attributes such as professional qualifications, job offers and language skills. The Skilled Worker route will include a Health and Care Visa.

However, to apply you must be a qualified nurse, doctor, nurse, health professional or adult social care professional and have a job offer from the NHS or other licensed sponsor. They need to have a job offer from the NHS (or equivalent body) and the employer must be a licensed sponsor.

Applicants will need 70 points or more, must be applying for a job ‘at appropriate skill level’, speak English and have a job offer from an approved sponsor.

Concern over carers

These requirements have raised alarm bells with charities and organisations such as PA Pool, where carers and PA’s are vital to the welfare of the people they care for. Age UK, for instance, is calling for the government to act now so that EU care staff can come to the UK to look after the older people who need them. The charity says that there are 104,000 EU nationals working in care in the UK, and yet they would be considered low-skilled workers under the new rules, so would find it harder to get work in the UK.

As and when this situation changes, we will bring you a further update.

Additional resources that you might find useful:

PA Pool allows those who need carers in their home the opportunity to interactively manage their own private care recruitment or employment. It aims to make the lives of PA Users and PA’s (carers) easier by eliminating some of the hassles of the recruitment process. Find out more and sign up at papool.co.uk/big-idea.