All references to “EU citizens” in this text include both EEA nationals and Swiss nationals, and “EU citizens” refers to both EEA nationals and Swiss nationals who can apply for the EU settlement scheme.
If you have indefinite leave to remain or EU membership, or if you are an Irish national, you do not need to apply, but you may apply if you wish.
Visit the GOV.UK advice website for further information on the EU Settlement Scheme, including what help is available.
What are the implications of the EU Settlement Scheme for employers?
To remain in the UK beyond 30 June 2021, EU nationals and their family members (including children and non-EU nationals) must apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.
Employers may wish to share information about the EU Settlement Scheme with their employees who are EU nationals, given the significant contribution that EU individuals make to businesses and organisations across the UK.
As an employer, you have certain responsibilities.
- Although you are not obliged by law to inform workers about the EU Settlement Scheme, you can refer them to the government website.
- Submitting an application to the EU Settlement Scheme is an EU citizen’s obligation. The person is not obliged to notify you, as their employer, that they have submitted an application or the outcome of their application. Similarly, you must wait until 30 June 2021 to find out whether an employee has applied.
- As a potential or current employer, you have an obligation not to discriminate against EU citizens. You cannot make an offer of employment or continued employment conditional on an individual submitting an EUSS application until after 30 June 2021.
- All potential workers, including British citizens, must check their right to work. Don’t just check the status of people who appear to be migrants; otherwise you may be breaking the law and risk a penalty if you are caught working illegally.
- The “Code of Good Practice for Employers: Avoiding unlawful discrimination and preventing illegal work” provides practical advice on how to avoid unlawful discrimination when employing people and carrying out right to work checks. When carrying out document checks, we strongly advise you to refer to our Code of Conduct. This Code of Conduct can be used as evidence in legal proceedings if you breach it.
- You must not interpret official material on the EU Settlement Scheme, and you must not give immigration advice to your workers unless you are qualified to do so.
- The deadline for EU Settlement Scheme applications for people who were resident in the UK on 31 December 2020 is 30 June 2021.
- Close family members who were not resident in the UK on 31 December 2020 will be able to join their EU family member in the UK at any time in the future if they meet the conditions, such as that the relationship still exists and that their EU family member was resident in the UK at that time.
- The UK will implement a points-based immigration system on 1 January 2021. To recruit skilled personnel from outside the UK, you will need to be an approved sponsor. With the exception of Irish nationals, anyone wishing to recruit from outside the UK will have to apply for immigration clearance before arriving. More information can be found at gov.uk/HiringFromTheEU.
The EU settlement scheme guidelines can be obtained from gov.uk/eusettlementscheme.
Right to work controls
Until 30 June 2021, EU citizens can use their passports and national identity cards to prove their right to work. If they have a status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) or the immigration points system, they can use the Home Office’s online tool to prove their right to work. They cannot be forced to use the online service or be discriminated against if they wish to prove their right to work using their passport or national identity card.
From 1 July 2021, most EU residents will use the Home Office’s online right to work service to prove their right to work. Those who have successfully applied for the EUSS will have their immigration status issued digitally and will only be able to prove their right to work through the Home Office’s online ‘prove your right to work to an employer’ tool, which can be found at gov.uk/prove-right-to-work.
There is no obligation to carry out a retrospective right-to-work check for EU citizens who started work on or before 30 June 2021. If the first inspections were carried out in accordance with this guideline, you will have continued legal justification against a sanction.
The verification of a job applicant’s right to work has additional information.
More information can be found here.
The Home Office has provided a number of resources on the EU Settlement Scheme:
- Visit gov.uk/eusettlementscheme for information on the EU Settlement Scheme and to direct your staff to the application homepage.
- Download communication resources to share with your EU citizen workers from the employer toolkit at gov.uk/settledstatus-employer-toolkit. Brandworkz, an online portal, offers digital and social media resources for download.
Visit gov.uk/HiringFromTheEU for advice on how to prepare for the UK’s points-based immigration system.