Please note that the below information is subject to change at any time, following any changes advised by the Government.

You’ll need to check a job applicant’s right to work in the same way as now until 30 June 2021, although there are temporary changes to how you can do this due to the Covid 19 restrictions. These temporary changes include asking for documents digitally, making checks via video call, and what to do if someone can’t provide any accepted documents.

Until this date job applicants can prove their right to work in the following ways:

If an applicant uses the online checking service this will generate a share code. You must then use the employers’ online service to check their right to work using this share code.

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 after 30 June 2021.

Irish citizens will continue to prove their right to work in the UK as they do now.

New immigration system from 1 January 2021

A new immigration system will apply to people arriving in the UK from 1 January 2021 and EU citizens moving to the UK to work will need to get a visa in advance.

EU citizens applying for a skilled worker visa will need to show they have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor to be able to apply. If you’re an employer planning to sponsor skilled migrants from 2021, and are not currently an approved sponsor, you should consider getting approved now.

If you’re already a Home Office licensed sponsor

If you’re already a licensed Tier 2 (General) visa sponsor, you’ll be automatically granted a new Skilled Worker licence.

If you’re an Intra-Company Transfer sponsor, you’ll be automatically granted a new Intra-Company Transfer licence.

Recruiting people from outside the UK from 1 January 2021

From 1 January 2021 you’ll need to have a sponsor licence to hire most workers from outside the UK.

From 1 January 2021, freedom of movement between the UK and EU will end and the UK will introduce an immigration system that will treat all applicants equally, regardless of where they come from. Anyone you want to recruit from outside the UK, excluding Irish citizens, will need to apply for permission first.

The requirements are different for each visa.

The new system will not apply to EEA or Swiss citizens you already employ in the UK. EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK by 31 December 2020, and their family members, can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. They have until 30 June 2021 to apply.

From 1 January 2021 you’ll need to have a sponsor licence to hire most workers from outside the UK.

Skilled workers

From 1 January 2021, anyone you recruit from outside the UK for the Skilled Worker route will need to demonstrate that:

  • they have a job offer from a Home Office licensed sponsor
  • they speak English at the required level
  • the job offer is at the required skill level of RQF3 or above (equivalent to A level)
  • they’ll be paid at least £25,600 or the ‘going rate’ for the job offer, whichever is higher.

If the job will pay less than this – but no less than £20,480 – the applicant may still be able to apply by ‘trading’ points on specific characteristics against their salary. For example, if they have a job offer in a shortage occupation or have a PhD relevant to the job.

There are different salary rules for workers in some health or education jobs, and for “new entrants” at the start of their careers.

Further information on which occupations are at the required skill level and the salaries for these occupations can be found in Annex E of the UK points-based immigration system: further details statement.

There will not be a general route for employers to recruit from outside the UK for jobs offering a salary below £20,480 or jobs at a skill level below RQF3.

Intra-company transfers

If you want to transfer a worker from a part of your business overseas to work for you in the UK, they can apply for the Intra-Company Transfer route. Applicants will need to be existing workers who will undertake roles that meet the skills and salary thresholds.

From 1 January 2021, workers transferring to the UK will need to:

  • be sponsored as an Intra-Company Transfer by a Home Office licensed sponsor
  • have 12 months’ experience working for a business overseas linked by ownership to the UK business they will work for.
  • be undertaking a role at the required skill level of RQF6 or above (graduate level equivalent)
  • be paid at least £41,500 or the ‘going rate’ for the job, whichever is higher

Permission for workers transferred to the UK on the Intra-Company Transfer route is temporary. Workers can be assigned to the UK multiple times, but they cannot stay in the UK for more than five years in any six-year period.

Workers paid over £73,900 do not need to have worked overseas for 12 months and can stay for up to nine years in any ten-year period.

Workers who are transferred to the UK as part of a structured graduate training programme for up to one year can apply for the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route. The requirements are the same except there are different rules on length of overseas experience and salary.

Other routes

A full list of worker routes can be read in the points-based system introduction for employers document.

EEA and Swiss citizens can use their passport or national identity card to prove they can work in the UK until 30 June 2021.

What does the EU Settlement Scheme mean for employers?

EU, EEA or Swiss citizens and their family members (including children and non-EU citizens) need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue to live, work and study in the UK beyond 30 June 2021.

Given the valuable contribution EU citizens make to businesses and organisations across the UK, employers may wish to communicate with their EU staff about the EU Settlement Scheme.

Your obligations as an employer

  • there is no legal obligation for you to communicate the EU Settlement Scheme, however, you may wish to direct employees to the information that the government is providing.
  • it is the responsibility of the individual to make an application to the EU Settlement Scheme. There is no requirement for the individual to inform you, as their employer, that they have applied or the outcome of their application. Likewise, you should not check that an employee has applied.
  • you have a duty not to discriminate against EU citizens in light of the UK’s decision to leave the EU as both a prospective and current employer. You cannot make an offer of employment, or continued employment, dependent on an individual having made an application.
  • you should not interpret information on the EU Settlement Scheme provided by the government and you must be careful not to provide immigration advice for your employees, unless you are qualified to do so.
  • EU citizens must be resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. The deadline for applications to the EU Settlement Scheme is 30 June 2021
  • from 1 January 2021, the UK will introduce a points-based immigration system. You will need to be a licensed sponsor to hire eligible employees from outside the UK. Anyone you want to hire from outside the UK, excluding Irish citizens, will need to apply for permission in advance. Further information is available at gov.uk/HiringFromTheEU

EU Settlement Scheme guidance can be found at gov.uk/eusettlementscheme.

Right to work checks

Job applicants can prove their right to work using any of the following:

  • their valid passport or national identity card (until 30 June 2021) if they’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen
  • their valid biometric residence card (until 30 June 2021) if they’re a non-EU, EEA or Swiss citizen family member
  • their digital status under the EU Settlement Scheme using the Home Office’s online view and prove your immigration status service to generate a share code: gov.uk/view-prove-immigration-status

There will be no change to right to work checks until after 30 June 2021 and you will not be required to undertake retrospective checks on existing EU employees. For more information, visit gov.uk/check-job-applicant-right-to-work

Access further information

The Home Office has set up various channels for you to access information about the EU Settlement Scheme:

  • access EU Settlement Scheme guidance and refer your employees to the application start page at gov.uk/eusettlementscheme
  • view the employer toolkit at gov.uk/settledstatus-employer toolkit to download communication materials to share with your EU citizen employees. Digital and social media assets are available to download via the online platform Brandworkz.

For information on how to prepare for the UK’s points-based immigration system, visit gov.uk/HiringFromTheEU.

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