As an employer, you need to ensure 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, who do not have a “settled or pre-settled” status, you will be hiring people in the UK unlawfully and breaking the law.
Changes to freedom of movement
As you will be aware, on the 1st January 2021, freedom of movement between the UK and EU ended, and the UK introduced an immigration system to treat all applicants equally. Therefore, anyone who recruits Non-UK workers, excluding Irish citizens, must ensure they take action as follows.
EU Settlement Scheme
If you 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 before the 31st December 2020.
The 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 https://www.gov.uk/check-immigration-status
For workers that do not yet have five years of 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 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 https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families.
UK Points-Based Immigration System
A new immigration system applied to people arriving in the UK from the 1st January 2021, and ALL Non-UK citizens (including EU citizens) moving to the UK after the 1st January 2021 must have a visa in advance.
EU citizens applying for a skilled worker visa need to show they have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor to apply, and Employers need a sponsor licence to hire most workers from outside the UK. For more information regarding UK Visa sponsorship, please visit https://www.gov.uk/uk-visa-sponsorship-employers
Should you employ any Non-UK 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/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 did not carry out the correct checks.
You can find more information on the UK’s points-based immigration system via https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-immigration-system-what-you-need-to-know
Keeping a record of right-to-work documents
The Government states that you must make a clear copy of each document required in a format that cannot manually be altered and securely stored: electronically or in hardcopy. You must also retain a secure record of the date on which you made the check.
For more information on Employing EU citizens in the UK, please refer to https://www.gov.uk/guidance/employing-eu-citizens-in-the-uk
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