Leading trade union and personal injury law firm Thompsons Solicitors has announced that it will cover the fee of applying for settled status for all staff.

The firm employs over 820 staff, including a number of EU citizens, in a network of 18 offices across the UK. The move to support its own staff with funding comes as approximately 3.8 million EU citizens face increasing uncertainty about their right to live and work in the UK post-Brexit[1]

“This is an anxious time for any EU citizen who has chosen to work in the UK, or adopt it as their home,” said Michelle Cronin, director of people, finance and infrastructure at Thompsons Solicitors.

"We see it as our responsibility as an employer to ensure we do everything we can to avoid losing the valuable contributions EU staff make to our firm, our clients and to society..."

Michelle Cronin of Thompsons Solicitors

“Many of our staff will be affected by the different complex proposals in place for EU citizens in the event of a deal or no-deal Brexit. We want to support them by covering the cost of the fee they look set to pay in order to apply for settled status, in order to secure their right to remain in the UK post-Brexit.”

The four fundamental freedoms of the common market – free movement of goods, services, capital and workers – established by the Treaty of Rome in 1957, and which enabled EU workers and their families to move freely between all EU countries to live and work, are now under scrutiny. It is not possible to say with certainty at this stage what the effect of Brexit will be on EU workers currently living in the UK.

“We are a diverse organisation with an outward-looking perspective,” continued Michelle. “We see it as our responsibility as an employer to ensure we do everything we can to avoid losing the valuable contributions EU staff make to our firm, our clients and to society by helping them to secure their future here in the UK.”

 

[1] The Office for National Statistics (ONS), has estimated, based on the Annual Population Survey in 2017, that there were 3.8 million EU nationals resident in the UK in 2017. This figure is for all EU nationals including those who are unemployed or economically inactive.

Update

This piece was originally published on the 11 January 2019. On the 20 January 2019, the government announced that it would be scrapping plans to charge EU nationals a fee to apply for settled status. Whilst the fees may have been dropped the process remains both complex and worrying for those applying and we will continue to support our staff in any way necessary to alleviate the uncertainty.