Brexit and Employing EU Nationals from 1st January 2021

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From 1st January 2021, the right to work for people from outside the United Kingdom and Ireland is changing. To recruit internationally, most companies will need to register as a licensed sponsor to hire eligible people. This blog explains the factors that companies need to consider if they have EU workers or plan to continue to recruit EU workers after January. 

From January there will be a new points-based system which aims to treat EU and non-EU citizens equally. Under a points-based immigration system, anyone coming to the UK to work must meet certain criteria as set out below. A visa will then be awarded to prospective employees who gain enough points. 

What about EU citizens already living/employed in the UK?

The new system will not apply to EU citizens currently living in the United Kingdom by 31st December 2020. Any employee who lives in the UK prior to 31st December will be required to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. 

Employers will still be able to accept passports and EU national identity cards as evidence of an employees right to work until the 30th June 2021. Alternatively, some EU citizens may wish to use evidence of their right to work using digital status obtained from the Home Office, if your employee wishes to demonstrate their right to work using this service they will need to provide their employer with a share code. 

More information regarding right to work evidence for EU Nationals can be found here

Employees and EU citizens eligible for the EU settlement scheme must apply by 30th June 2021. 

How can my company become a sponsor? 

If a company wants to continue recruiting employees from the EU after 1st January 2020, they will need to register to become a sponsor, more information can be found here.

 Before applying to become a sponsor, it is important to check that any prospective employees you want to recruit meet the requirements for coming to work in the UK, which include the employee earning at least £26,500 per annum, having a high level of English and a level of education equivalent of at least A Levels. More information can be found here

Harwood HR are able to assist with your sponsorship application and can provide a dedicated HR Consultant to work with you on the process, contact us for more information.

What do I need to do now? 

  • If your company anticipates a need to continue to recruit workers from the EU you should start the process of becoming a Sponsor ASAP. 
  • Have a plan in place for the possibility of not being able to recruit EU candidates if your application to be a sponsor is not accepted. 
  • Reassure your current workforce and current EU workers that they will continue to be able to work and live in the UK after 31st December 2020. 
  • Do not discriminate against EU workers by treating them any differently or less favourably then other employees. 
  • Ensure that when carrying out your right to work checks for new employees that if a new EU passport holder joins they are aware that they will have to register and prove they were residing in the UK before 1st January 2021. 

Harwood HR – HR Consultants providing HR Outsourced and recruitment services to SME’s in Bristol and surrounding areas. We provide clear, cost effective HR advice. For a free consultation, please contact  

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