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The right to work in the UK after Brexit

The UK officially left the EU on 31 December 2020. Employers have been grappling with right to work checks and determining the ways that EU nationals are able to work in the UK after Brexit.

EU citizen right to work check

Employers must continue to check all new employee’s right to work in the UK (before their employment begins) and must complete compliant right to work in the UK checks. An employer can check an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen’s passport or identity card or they can use the right to work online checking service. Employers have a duty not to discriminate against EU, EEA or Swiss citizens. An employer cannot specifically require an employee to show their status under the EU Settlement Scheme until after 30 June 2021.

UK points-based immigration system

The Government has introduced significant variations to the points-based immigration system. This takes effect from 1 January 2021 and applies to any EU citizen who wishes to move to the UK for work after this date. Applicants are required to show they have certain required skills and are awarded points on various different factors, if they obtain enough points then they are entitled to apply for a work visa (e.g. Skilled Worker visa). Any EU citizen who applies for a work visa must have received an offer of a job from an approved employer sponsor and this job must be of at least a specified level. The employer must apply to be an approved trusted sponsor in advance to be granted a Sponsor Licence.

EU Settlement Scheme

Any individual who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020 can apply for settled or pre-settled status (depending on the period that they have been present in the UK). The deadline for an application under the EU Settlement Scheme is 30 June 2021. If their application is granted they can continue to live and work in the UK. Any EU national who has not already applied under the EU Settlement Scheme should progress and submit their application without delay if they are eligible.


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