Brexit webinar - FAQs

How is UK immigration policy changing from 1st January 2021?

UK immigration policy is planned to change substantially on 1st January 2021 in that there will no longer be any preferential status for newly-arriving workers from EU / EEA countries and Switzerland, with the exception of Ireland and the Crown Dependencies (Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey, Sark, Herm, Alderney). 

Workers from EU / EEA and Switzerland who are resident in the UK on or before 31st December 2020 retain their rights to live and work in the UK but will need to apply for “settled status” by 30th June 2021 at the latest to ensure they do not lose these rights. 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/recruiting-people-from-outside-the-uk-from-1-january-2021

What is the position on pre-employment checks after 31st December 2020?

Right to work checks will remain a requirement for all workers. Up until 30th  June 2021 EU / EEA & Swiss workers already in the UK before 1st January 2021 will be able to provide their passport or National Identity card as an acceptable document evidencing their right to work in the UK.

There is a new points-based system from 1st January 2021 which aims to treat everyone in the world equally. For people entering the UK after 1st January 2021 the right to work no longer automatically includes EU / EEA or Swiss nationals - A visa will usually be needed.

There is no need for employers to conduct retrospective checks on current employees.

Up until 30th June 2021 employers can continue to accept passports and national identity cards of EU citizens as evidence of their right to work. So if an employer has conducted a compliant right to work check for an EU/EEA or Swiss national before 1st January 2021, it will not need to repeat this.

The government's online checking service can confirm if  a prospective employee has settled or pre-settled status but employees don't have to share status up to 30st June 2021, so employers cannot insist that employees use the online checking service. There will be no written proof of settled status (this will be digital only). 

Further information is here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/recruiting-people-from-outside-the-uk-from-1-january-2021

What is the position for people from Ireland?

Under longstanding bilateral agreements, Irish Nationals along with people from the Crown Dependencies (Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey, Sark, Herm, Alderney) are treated differently from nationals of other EU / EEA countries and will retain the same rights to work and live in the UK as now. 

Further information is here: 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/common-travel-area-guidance   

What is “settled status”? 

“Settled status” is the status that the UK government has agreed that can be granted to people from the EU / EEA / Switzerland who exercised their freedom of movement and entered the UK before 31st December 2021 (the end of the transition period) and who remain in the UK for a period of 5 years. 

These people will retain their rights to live and work in the UK indefinitely. But they must apply for this status through the UK Home Office - it's an online process - and they have until 30th June 2021 to do so. When they apply they will either be granted settled status straight away, or be granted “pre-settled status” which allows them to continue to remain and work in the UK until they have done so for a total of 5 years, at which point they will be granted “settled status”.

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