Heathrow to help workers achieve ‘settled status’ after Brexit

Heathrow has offered to help its directly employed EU workers to achieve ‘settled status’ in the UK by paying the £65 fee.

The company says it is responding to concerns of staff, who are seeking reassurance over their status in the UK after Brexit. If their application is successful this will mean that they and their families will be able to continue to live in the UK after 31 December 2020, which is currently the date that the transition period after the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 ends.

A spokesperson for Heathrow tells Recruiter that the company currently employs 350 EU nationals, out of a total of 7,600 staff. When asked whether many EU workers had left the company to return to their home countries, the spokesperson replied “No”.
In a statement, CEO John Holland Kaye said: “Heathrow is an international business and we need a workforce that reflects this. It is critical for us to have diverse, happy and valued colleagues. Many of our people are worried about Brexit and this move will provide reassurance and certainty.”

Although the decision currently only applies to staff directly employed by Heathrow and not to agency workers, it comes after it emerged in November that from the beginning of this month all new suppliers contracted directly by the airport will be required to pay the living wage. Heathrow has also announced that all existing suppliers will be required to pay the living wage and to phase out zero-hours contacts within the next two years. 

A recruiter, who supplies workers to UK airports but wished to remain anonymous, said the move “was a really nice gesture” that recognised the valuable contribution made by EU nationals. However, he said that with Brexit still up in the air, it would be difficult for agencies to know whether to follow suit “until we know which way we are headed”. 

Heathrow is one of a growing number of employers that have said they will pay the cost involved where EU nationals wish to apply for settled status. Recent examples are Oxford University Hospital and Hoxton hospital.

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