Following the UK leaving the European Union, changes have been made to the official guidance surrounding the EU Right to Work system. The six-month grace period allowed eligible EU, EEA and Swiss (EEA) citizens and their family members who were already resident in the UK by 31st December 2020 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. Now that the grace period has ended, EEA citizens and their family members require immigration status in the UK.
Why does the EU Right to Work exist?
The EU Right to Work system is in place to protect vulnerable people from being exploited in terms of low wages, lack of employment rights, tax evasion and cases of modern slavery.
What does this mean?
In short, EEA citizens can no longer rely on an EEA passport or national identity card to prove their right to work. As a result, employers need to be vigilant and follow the Government guidance closely.
What does my business need to do?
Anyone that your business hires for any position (temporary/seasonal or permanent) must prove their right to work here in line with the new system. This involves evidence of lawful immigration status in the UK for anyone starting a new role from 1st July 2021 onwards.
How does the system work?
The majority of EEA citizens will prove their eligibility using the Home Office online right to work service. Those who have made a successful application will be provided with an eVisa. You can check this on the GOV.UK website by entering their date of birth and the share code they have been provided following their application.
Settled Status vs Pre-Settled Status
If an EEA citizen has been granted Settled Status, they will have a continuous right to work. Alternatively, if an EEA citizen has been granted Pre-Settled Status, they will have a time-limited right to work and you must carry out a follow-up check.
The online service will let you know when a follow-up check needs to be carried out, preventing confusion, delays and mistakes during the recruitment process.
Temporary changes are currently in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will remain until 31st August 2021. If an individual is required to present you with a current passport or travel document to show that they are allowed to stay in the UK for a ‘time-limited period’ and the passport has recently expired, you should contact the Employer Checking Service to verify their status and obtain a defence against a civil penalty. More advice can be found on page 53 of the Home Office’s supporting guidance.
Irish citizens continue to have unrestricted access to work in the UK. They can prove their right to work using their Irish passport or Irish passport card, or their Irish birth or adoption certificate, together with an official document giving the person’s permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a government agency or a previous employer.
There is also the option for Irish citizens to also apply for a frontier worker permit, which can be issued digitally or as a physical permit.
Prestige is here to help
Need additional help regarding recruitment and the EU Right to Work? For expert guidance, please call your closest branch or get in touch through our contact form.