How do we ensure our workforce has the right to work in the UK post-Brexit?

Tessa Robinson


View bio

November 4, 2019

Categories BrexitEmployment Law

It is important to remember that there will be no change to your workers right to work in the UK until after 31 December 2020 if the UK leave the EU, with or without a deal.

If the Government’s deal is passed, then all workers from the EU, EEA and Switzerland arriving in the UK before 31 December 2020,  have until 30 June 2021 to apply for settled status.  If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, then the settled status scheme will only remain open to those arriving in the UK prior to the exit date.

All workers arriving in the UK post a no-deal Brexit, will have until 31 December 2020 to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain.

Until 1 January 2021, an EU, EEA or Swiss worker will be able to prove their right to work using either:

  • Their passport or national identity card if they’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, or
  • Their biometric residence card if they’re a non-EU, EEA or Swiss citizen family member, or
  • Their status under the EU Settlement Scheme or EU Temporary Leave Scheme.

At this point if a worker has neither obtained, nor applied for settled status, nor temporary leave to remain, nor has the right to work under a visa / route; then they may become an illegal worker in the UK.

What steps should employers take to ensure workers have the right to work?

Employers should continue to check a job applicant’s right to work in the same way as they do now until 1 January 2021 and should be careful about discriminating against EU workers by carrying out additional ‘right to work’ checks upon them before it is necessary.

On 1 January 2021, a new immigration scheme will come into force and employers should carry out fresh ‘right to work’ checks where appropriate to ensure their workforce has the right to work in the UK.

In the meantime, employers should ensure they carry out an audit of their workforce to see who might be affected, offer guidance and support where appropriate, and ensure contracts contain obligations on employees to inform their employer if they become aware of any actual or potential changes to their right to work in the UK.

Business immigration services

Furley Page offers advice to businesses and advises employees on business immigration.

If you wish to discuss right to work checks and the impact of Brexit on your workforce, please contact Tessa Robinson on 01634 828277.