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Guide

Brexit support for employers

As an employer, you may have questions about what Brexit means for you. One of the key queries facing businesses is the uncertainty over recruiting and retaining staff, especially if you employ staff from the European Union (EU). Employers can take a number of practical steps and find support to prepare for the UK leaving the EU.

Which employees will Brexit affect?

Identify who, in your business, may be affected by the UK leaving the EU, such as:

  • workers from other EU countries
  • workers that commute from the Republic of Ireland to work in your business
  • workers that are UK nationals but have family members from another EU country - eg a spouse or partner
  • students from another EU country working in your business - eg completing a scholarship or student placement

There will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK while the UK remains in the EU. EU citizens' rights in the UK.

Read about the status of EU citizens in the UK: what you need to know.

Workplace rights after Brexit

In most cases there will be no changes to workplace rights if there is a no-deal Brexit. However, there will be some changes to rules on:

Right to work checks

There will be no change to the way EU, EEA and Swiss citizens prove their right to work until 1 January 2021. Employers should conduct right to work checks on EU, EEA and Swiss citizens in the same way as now until 1 January 2021. This remains the same if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Irish citizens will continue to have the right to work in the UK and prove their right to work as they do now, for example by using their passport.

See right to work checks and ensure your workers are eligible to work in the UK.

Settled status for EU citizens and their families

The UK Government has developed a scheme for EU citizens living in the UK to apply for settled status for themselves and their family. Getting settled status means you can continue to live and work in the UK for as long as you like. You will not need to apply if you’re an Irish citizen or have indefinite leave to remain, but your family members from outside the UK and Ireland will.

The settled status scheme is open to applications until 30 June 2021.

Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme


The UK government confirms that if there is no deal the EU Settlement Scheme will continue to be implemented. However, there would be some changes, in particular, the scheme deadline being moved forward to 31 December 2020. See further details in the policy paper on citizens' rights in the event of a no deal Brexit.

The EU Settlement Scheme: employer toolkit contains relevant materials for you and your employees, including a practical communications plan. These can be downloaded and used in the workplace to raise awareness for staff that may be affected.

Read more about settled status for EU citizens and their families including eligibility criteria and documents you'll need to apply.

If you have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme and need help or information about your application, contact the EU Settlement Resolution Centre.

Applying for skilled or unskilled-work visas

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there will be a new process for EU citizens arriving in the UK before 31 December 2020. From 1 January 2021, a new skills-based immigration system will launch. For non-EU nationals, EU Exit will not affect the application process for work visas.

How can employers plan for Brexit?

Brexit-related consultations

Consultations offer an opportunity to comment on policy and issues that relate to your business. Find Brexit consultations from government departments: