As you may already be aware, from the 1st January 2021, freedom of movement between the UK and EU will end, and the UK will introduce an immigration system that will treat all applicants equally, regardless of where they are from. Anyone who recruits Non-UK workers, excluding Irish citizens, will need to ensure the following steps are followed.
EU workers living in the UK by the 31st December 2020
If you currently employ EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens, they will need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living and working in the UK after the 30th June 2021. They must have started living in the UK by the 31st December 2020.
The new EU settlement scheme has been in place since March 2019 and allows those who have been residing in the UK for five years to apply for “settled” status. As an employer YOU MUST check and have evidence that your workers have “settled” status and therefore, have the right to work in the UK, which you can check via GOV.UK https://www.gov.uk/check-immigration-status
For workers that do not yet have five years continuous residency, they can apply for “pre-settled” status. As an employer YOU MUST check and have evidence that your workers have “pre-settled” status and therefore, have the right to work in the UK, which you can check via GOV.UK https://www.gov.uk/view-prove-immigration-status
The deadline for status applications is 30th June 2021 and workers can apply for the EU Settlement Scheme via GOV.UK https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families. In the meantime, you can accept original documentation; please refer to the following for guidance https://www.gov.uk/check-job-applicant-right-to-work
As an employer you need to make sure that ALL EU, EEA or Swiss citizens on your payroll have either “settled or pre-settled” status by the 30th June 2021. If you employ any EU citizens after the 30th June 2021, that do not have a “settled or pre-settled” status, you will be hiring people who are in the UK unlawfully and therefore, breaking the law.
EU workers arriving in the UK from the 1st January 2021
A new immigration system will apply to people arriving in the UK from the 1st January 2021 and EU citizens moving to the UK to work will need to get a visa in advance.
Should you employ any EU citizens from the 1st January 2021, you MUST make sure you check and have evidence of their rights to live and work in the UK, which you can check via https://www.gov.uk/check-immigration-status or https://www.gov.uk/check-job-applicant-right-to-work
Anyone coming to the UK from the 1st January 2021 will need to obtain a work visa in advance. TO find out if they have the right to work in the UK, you can check this via https://www.gov.uk/view-right-to-work
Please check that your workers have the right to work in the UK and make sure their documents are valid. You could be penalised if you employ someone who does not have the right to work, and you did not carry out the correct checks.
For more information on Employing EU citizens in the UK, please refer to https://www.gov.uk/guidance/employing-eu-citizens-in-the-uk