BREXIT: New UK Guidance for Employing EU Nationals

March 18, 2021

The UK Home Office has released an update to the guidance regarding the right to work checks on EU nationals following Brexit, specifically during the grace period of 30 December 2020 to 30 June 2021.

Right to work checks for EEA nationals have not changed yet post- Brexit and will continue until 30 June 2021. Until then, EEA nationals can use their passport or national identity card to evidence their right to work.

Employers are not expected to differentiate between EEA nationals who arrived before the end of the transition period (31 December 2020) and those arriving after in the grace period from 1 January to 30 June 2021. There is also no mandatory requirement for retrospective checks to be undertaken on EEA nationals that were employed on or before 30 June 2021. Employers will maintain a continuous statutory excuse against a civil penalty in the event of illegal working if the initial right to work check was undertaken in line with right to work legislation and in line with this guidance at the time.

However, the Home Office has confirmed that employers may wish to invite those who already have status under the EU Settlement Scheme, or status under the points-based immigration system, to evidence their right to work using the Home Office online service.

However, they cannot insist that EEA nationals use the online service or discriminate against those who wish to use their passport or national identity card during the grace period. If an employer chooses to carry out retrospective checks, they must ensure that they do so in a non-discriminatory manner.

A further Home Office Factsheet on this can be found here.

Employers are reminded that from 1 July, checks will change and all EEA nationals will be required to demonstrate they have a right to work through evidence of their immigration status, rather than their nationality, using the online service.

New guidance on how to conduct right to work checks on EEA nationals from 1 July will be provided in advance of this date and Irish nationals will continue to have the right to work throughout and prove their right to work as they do now, for example, by using their passport.

Our Advice

Individuals and organizations who may be affected are encouraged to contact a Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.

For general advice and information on immigration and business travel to the UK, please contact us.