Employing EU nationals in the UK
Before 30 June 2021
Businesses that currently employ EU, EEA or Swiss nationals in the UK should inform these employees that they will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme for settled status before 30 June 2021. Without this, employees may no longer be eligible to live and work in the UK, which could disrupt businesses and cost them valuable staff members.
EU nationals seeking settled status must satisfy certain eligibility criteria. For more information on this eligibility criteria, please read our guide on Settled Status in the UK.
On or after 30 June 2021
From 30 June 2021, businesses intending to employ EU nationals to come and work in the UK will need to take into account the new points-based immigration system, which sets certain requirements for foreign workers entering the UK. The potential employee must:
- have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor
- for a position that requires at least A level (or equivalent) qualifications
- speak English
- be paid at least £25,600
Note that these changes do not retrospectively apply to EEA nationals already employed in the UK by 30 June 2021.
Businesses will also need to register for a sponsor licence from the UK government to support foreign workers in satisfying these requirements. They should also check that the foreign worker has the right to work in the UK using the government’s Employer Checking Service.
There is also a UK government Global Talent Scheme to fast-track immigration for highly-skilled scientists and researchers to enter the UK without a job offer. This scheme continues to apply to EU, EEA and Swiss citizens after Brexit. Individuals hired through the Global Talent Scheme do not require a business sponsor. For more information, see the government website.
Please note that none of the above applies to Irish citizens, whose right to live and work in the UK are not affected by Brexit.
Employing UK nationals in the EU
UK nationals are no longer able to benefit from the Free Movement of Peoples from 2021 onwards. This means that businesses that employ UK nationals in EU member states need to take into account new immigration rules in the relevant jurisdiction of their place of work. This may include applying for a work permit or visa, and may take time to obtain. UK staff working in the EEA that drive as part of their job may need to apply for an International Driving Permit. This can be checked on the government website.