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).

The UK has left the EU and there is now a transition period until the end of 2020 while the UK and EU negotiate additional arrangements. The current rules for employing people will continue to apply during the transition period. Employers can take a number of practical steps and find support to prepare for for new rules that will take effect from 1 January 2021.

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

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.

You have a duty not to discriminate against EU, EEA or Swiss citizens. You cannot require them to show you their status under the EU Settlement Scheme until 1 January 2021.

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.

EU Settlement Scheme: Settled status for EU citizens and their families

The UK Government has developed the EU Settlement 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. See EU Settlement Scheme: Helping EU workers apply to stay in Northern Ireland after Brexit.

The EU Settlement Scheme application deadline is 30 June 2021Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Employer toolkit: EU Settlement Scheme

The EU Settlement Scheme: employer toolkit contains relevant materials for you to provide clear and accurate information to the EU citizens and family members you employ, including:

These can be downloaded and used in the workplace to raise awareness for staff that may be affected.

If an employee has applied to the EU Settlement Scheme and needs help or information about their application, they should contact the EU Settlement Resolution Centre.

Applying for skilled or unskilled-work visas

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. See Brexit: New points-based immigration system from January 2021.

How can employers prepare during the Brexit transition period