Promoting the EU Settlement Scheme to Community members

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2020 Community Conference and Seminar
3 February 2020

Conference notes the outcome of the General Election on December 12th 2019 which resulted in the re-election of a Conservative government. The �Skills for Care� workforce development charity that operates as a delivery partner for the Department of Health and Social Care estimates that there;

1. are 1.52 million social care jobs within local authorities, independent sector providers and those working for direct payment recipients only

2. and that overall there are around 250,000 jobs in adult social care held by people with a non-British nationality, 115,000 of these holding an EU nationality.

Skills for Care also estimate that the proportion of EU (non-British) workers has risen three percentage over the past six years (from 2012/13 to 2018/19) whilst the proportion of the adult social care workforce with a British nationality has been consistent over the past six years (from 2012/13 to 2018/19), rising only one percentage over the period.

Conference further notes that the Conservative government broke the promises they made to European citizens and non-EU family members during the 2016 EU Referendum campaign by not granting them automatic indefinite leave to remain in the UK. It is also noted that people who are citizens or have a passport of a European Union member state, or Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, and are in the UK by the 31 December 2020, are required to apply (along with family members) to the EU settlement scheme to continue living and working in the UK after 30 June 2021.

The Home Office EU Settlement campaign does not cover the full range of citizens who can apply under the scheme. The messaging is centred on �white� European Union/ European Economic Area (EU/EEA) and Swiss citizens and some family members. Many overseas citizens in the UK do not identify as an EU/EEA and Swiss national because they are from another country, have dual nationality and are a passport holder of one of the EU/EEA country and/or Switzerland. Some might not realise yet that their stay in the UK is conditional on the status of their EU/EEA /Swiss family member(s) and they too must acquire status to remain in the UK.

In order to do this they must apply for EU Settled Status.

Conference additionally notes that there are currently around 60 community organisations funded by the government to provide advice, guidance and assistance to EU citizens wishing to access the scheme. Many of these are also employers of and provide services to UNISON Community members.

Conference welcomes UNISON�s response to this issue by our work in conjunction with Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) in providing free immigration telephone advice to UNISON members who have come to work in our regions/nations from a country outside the UK

Conference shares the concern of some Community employers that, despite widespread advertisement, both within and outside UNISON, Community members and colleagues are not securing their status through applications to the scheme.

This was brought into sharp focus during discussions with a national charity who highlighted that only 2 out of their 478 EU/EEA employees had at that time applied for EU Settled Status.

Conference believes that this is not an isolated case and that more work needs to be done to ensure that our EU/EEA colleagues who work within the Community sector secure their futures in the UK and continue to remain valued providers of our public services.

Conference therefore instructs the Community Service Group Executive to:

1. Continue to work with the NEC and UNISON�s Service Groups to highlight the valued contribution EU workers play within our sector and their particular importance in the social care workforce.

2. Continue to publicise the UNISON/JCWI EU Settlement Scheme advice service to Community Service Group members through our e-bulletins and other appropriate media and to make resources available to branches to ensure that those UNISON members who fall within the scope of the scheme are made aware of the need to apply for settled status.

3. Work with UNISON Labour Link, NEC and other stakeholders including lobbying political parties in positions of power and influence in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to promote the need to secure the rights of UNISON members who are EU27 citizens delivering public services in the UK.

Community Service Group Executive