Right to Work Checks – Changes from 1st July 2021 

On the 1st of July 2021, the UK transitions to its new right to work system, as part of adjustments to the law following Brexit. Free movement between the EU and the UK ended on 31st December 2020 - EEA and Swiss nationals who were in the UK before that date were given a six-month grace period to apply for settled or pre-settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme.

In this blog we have detailed the important changes to right to work checks that employers should be aware of and recommended steps to take following the changes on 1st July. 

What is changing? 

  • Up until 30th June 2021, EEA and Swiss nationals can use their national ID cards or passports as evidence of their right to work. From July 1st, this will no longer be permissible, and they must use the online right to work service to evidence their right to work.  
  • Employers will be able to use the online service to check an employee’s settled or pre-settled status and thus their right to work.  
  • The new system will not apply to any EEA or Swiss nationals you currently employ in the UK. There is no requirement for retrospective checks on employees that began working before1st July 2021.  

EU Settlement Scheme 

  • EEA and Swiss nationals still have until the 30th June 2021 to apply for settled or pre-settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme. 
  • If a decision on their status is still pending after the deadline, they have the right to work for a statutory period of six months until a decision is made. Employers can use the Employer Checking Service to verify that there is a pending application.  
  • Provision will be made to accept applications after the deadline, but only if reasonable grounds are given for missing it.  
  • Employees applying for the EU Settlement Scheme have no obligation to disclose their application status to you, and you should not check that they have applied.  

How should employers handle these changes?

  • Though you cannot require an employee to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, ensure information regarding the process is accessible to your workforce and circulate reminders of the deadline. 
  • Continue right to work checks as normal for employees who entered the UK before 1st January 2021 up until the changes come into effect on 1st July 
  • Ensure all employees entering the UK on or after 1st January 2021, have a valid visa as part of their right to work checks.  
  • Ask for proof of settled or pre-settled status as part of your right to work checks after 30th June.

For guidance relating to employee’s right to work, or any other HR issues, contact us today at [email protected]