Guidance released by the Home Office outlines that checks to confirm legality of workers from the EU, EEA and Switzerland will not change prior to 2021 even if there is a no-deal Brexit.
As the UK is still set to leave the EU on 12 April 2019, this new advice confirms that no alterations will need to be made to the way that right to work checks are currently conducted. This advice remains valid until January 2021, provided they comply with existing codes of practice on the prevention of foreign nationals working in the UK illegally. Organisations will therefore not need to differentiate between EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members who were resident in the UK before or after the UK leaves the EU.
Individuals who fall into these categories will continue to prove their right to work in the UK as they do now, such as by showing a passport or national identity card. Alternatively, organisations can now conduct checks through the use of the Home Office online service if the individual has been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme. This scheme has now been been fully rolled out and is accepting applications. In order to allow organisations to use the online service they will need to possess the date of birth and unique sharing code for the person in question. Any checks will need to be clearly recorded and it should also be remembered that employees cannot be made to undertake an online check.
Does the position change depending on whether the UK leaves with or without a deal?
If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, EU nationals arriving in the UK prior to 30 June 2021 will be able to apply for status under the Settlement Scheme. If there isn’t a deal, those who are already in the UK prior to the date it leaves the EU will be able to apply. Following this date, there will be a transition period until 1 January 2021, during which time European workers coming to the UK will be able to work for 3 months without needing to apply. If the employee wishes to remain for longer, they will need to be granted temporary leave to remain, which will last for 36 months.
What happens in 2021?
From January 2021, a new checking system will be introduced and it currently remains unclear what form this will take. It is therefore advisable that organisations keep fully up to date on this as it develops. What is clear is that, despite the outcome of Brexit, all Irish citizens are to continue to have the right to work in the UK indefinitely and can prove this right as they currently do, such as through the use of their passport.
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