In the aftermath of Brexit, employers need to understand the new rules governing the employment of EU nationals, including those who currently work in the UK.
Freedom of movement within the UK ended on 31 December 2020 and so European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss citizens who enter the UK from 1 January 2021 are subject to immigration control. EEA and Swiss citizens who were resident in the UK on 31 December 2020 retain the right to live and work in the UK after 30 June 2021 provided that they apply for settlement under the EU settlement scheme. If an application under the EU settlement scheme is successful, settled or pre-settled status will be granted. Irish citizens and individuals with indefinite leave to remain are able to stay in the UK without making an application under the EU Settlement Scheme.
As was the case before Brexit, employers must check that potential employees have the right to live and work in the UK. In terms of checking an EEA national’s right to work in the UK, employers will continue to be able to use just a passport or national ID card until 30 June 2021. From 1 July 2021, however, employers must see proof of immigration status, which will be either from the Settlement Scheme or from the new immigration system.
Under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, all EU employment law will be converted (as it was before Brexit) into UK law. The Employment Rights (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 will make some small technical changes and introduce new provisions intended to preserve UK-located European Works Councils but employment law will otherwise remain the same for the time being. Further down the line, the UK government may take the opportunity to dismantle EU-derived employment laws. However, it’s worth pointing out that some aspects of UK employment law - such as equality legislation – already go further than EU minimum requirements. This means even if the UK government does decide to repeal some EU-derived employment rights, there are still likely to be areas of employment law where the UK goes further than the EU.
For more information
Check the Government’s Guidance to keep up to date with any changes in this area of law.
If you would like any specific support or advice, please contact me.