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Employers: EU Workers

As an employer you may have questions over recruiting and retaining staff, especially if you employ staff from the European Union (EU). 

The Home Office has published guidance on the UK points-based immigration system following transition from the EU (including guidance on policy, employer responsibilities for compliance, and hiring from the EU).  The way you hire from the EU is changing.  From 1 January 2021, you will need to register as a licensed sponsor to hire eligible people from outside the UK.  Free movement is ending, and the new points-based immigration system will introduce job, salary and language requirements that will change the way you hire from the EU.

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Will Brexit affect your employees?

You should identify who, in your business, may be affected by the UK leaving the EU, such as:

  • workers from other EU countries
  • workers that commute from the Republic of Ireland to work in your business
  • workers that are UK nationals but have family members from another EU country - eg a spouse or partner
  • students from another EU country working in your business - eg completing a scholarship or student placement

EU Settlement Scheme: Settled status for EU citizens and their families

The UK Government has developed the EU Settlement Scheme for EU citizens living in the UK to apply for settled status for themselves and their family. Getting settled status means you can continue to live and work in the UK for as long as you like. You will not need to apply if you're an Irish citizen or have indefinite leave to remain, but your family members from outside the UK and Ireland will. See EU Settlement Scheme: Employer Toolkit

The EU Settlement Scheme application deadline is 30 June 2021

Who should apply?

If you employ workers from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you should make them aware of what they have to do to remain in the UK. They and their family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue to live in the UK after 30 June 2021. If their application is successful, they will get either settled or pre-settled status.

There will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens currently living in the UK prior to either of this deadline. 

The scheme is free to apply to. Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Applying for skilled or unskilled-work visas

There will be a new process for EU citizens arriving in the UK before 31 December 2020. From 1 January 2021, a new skills-based immigration system will launch. For non-EU nationals, the EU Exit will not affect the application process for work visas.