EU Exit support for employers


As an employer, you may have questions about recruiting and retaining staff, especially if you employ staff from the European Union (EU).

The UK has left the EU. Employers can take a number of practical steps and find support to meet the new rules that have taken effect from 1 January 2021.

Which employees are affected?

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

How you check EU, EEA and Swiss citizens' right to work in the UK has not changed, even though the UK has left the EU. They can still use their passport or National Identity Card until 30 June 2021. See checking an EU citizen job applicant's right to work.

After 30 June 2021, the new immigration rules for recruiting people from outside the UK will apply. You will not need to make retrospective checks for existing employees.

You'll also need a sponsor licence to employ EEA and Swiss citizens coming to the UK to work from 1 January 2021.

See right to work checks: an employer's guide.

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.

After 1 January 2021 - applying through the points-based immigration system

If the person you are employing was not a resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 and does not have rights under the withdrawal agreement, they will need to meet specific requirements, through the new points-based immigration system, in order to work or study in the UK from 1 January 2021.

Irish citizens' status continues to be protected as part of the Common Travel Area arrangements and do not need to apply through the points-based immigration system.

See further information on the UK's points-based immigration system: information for EU citizens.