Dear clients and contacts,
On a change of topic from our usual Covid-19 briefings, today we are setting out some basic information regarding your existing and new staff who are EU nationals. It is vital to get this right as there are hefty fines of up to £20,000 per illegal worker, possible revocation of your sponsor licence and criminal charges for knowing, or having reasonable cause to believe, that an EU national is working in the UK illegally.
- EU nationals already resident in the UK on or before 31st December 2020 have a grace period until 30th June 2021 to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme for Settled or Pre-Settled Status.
- Settled Status allows EU, EEA and Swiss nationals to live and work in the UK indefinitely and they can go on to apply for British citizenship if they wish.
- Irish citizens do not need to obtain settled status and can continue to come to the UK to live and work regardless of Brexit.
- Until the 30th June 2021 you can continue to rely on EU passports or National ID cards as proof of right to work in the UK. You cannot directly ask or require to see proof of settled status prior to the end of June, as this can be discriminatory.
- You can alternatively check their right to work using the Home Office’s online right to work free checking service https://www.gov.uk/view-right-to-work, provided they have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme and consent to this check. However, you cannot insist that they use the online right to work checking service.
- If you wish to employ EU nationals after the 30th June 2021, you will need to apply for a Sponsor Licence from the Home Office – this can take a couple of months or more and visa applications a month or more, so prepare early.
- After 30 June 2021, there is no requirement for retrospective checks to be undertaken on EU, EEA and Swiss nationals who were employed on or before 30 June 2021.
- New guidance on how to conduct right to work checks on EU, EEA and Swiss nationals after 30 June 2021 will be provided by the government in advance the 30th June 2021.
If you employ or wish to employ EU Nationals – Next Steps:
- Carry out a staff audit to identify EU, EAA and Swiss nationals – also consider contractors, agency staff and casual or temp workers.
- Keep a log of any who have already got Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status, if this information is offered to you.
- Diarise any review or expiry dates for Status so that you do not miss deadlines.
- Review and update your recruitment process to ensure that you are not employing workers illegally.
- Update Right to Work Checks contracts and associated documents (see below for what we will do for you).
- Apply for a Sponsor License as early as possible https://www.gov.uk/apply-sponsor-licence.
- Apply for work permits for new & existing staff, where applicable.
- Ensure your recruitments process includes gathering the correct Right to Work information and storing it in the correct prescribed way.
For our Retained clients we will be automatically updating your offer letter, new starter pack and contract documentation to ensure it is up to date. We will also email you separately to confirm what has been updated and the new process to follow for recruitment.
For our PAYG clients we will update your documents on request. Please respond to this email if you would like us to update these documents for you.
This briefing is an overview and is not a substitute for specific advice on your circumstances. There is a lot of useful information on the .gov website that you can access. We also have some very useful resources from our friends at Ward Hadaway. They have a UK Visa Guidelines Hub. This is a free online resource providing easy to understand guidance on recent immigration changes as a result of Brexit, as well as the most common UK visas, in a handy Q&A format. Their immigration experts have cut through the mountains of regulation, presenting clear answers to the most frequently asked questions of businesses wishing to recruit individuals from overseas, remain compliant with right to work guidance and recent changes and individuals who want to move to the UK to work or study. Due to the complexity of immigration law, no two issues are the same so whether you need tailored advice or simply a second opinion, you can contact Ward Hadaway through the Hub which can be accessed here or we can put you in touch on request.