Posted on 9th April 2019
Category: News

If you employ EU, EEA or Swiss citizens (hereafter referred to as EU citizens) and want to understand how leaving the EU will affect your business and what you can to do to get ready, this information from DEFRA will signpost you to the most up-to-date information.

What you need to know:

EU citizens can continue to come to the UK for work in 2019 and 2020, after the UK leaves the EU.

If the UK does not reach a deal with the EU before withdrawing from the EU, there will be a different process for EU citizens wishing to work in the UK for longer than three months.

So what happens in the different scenarios?

In a deal situation

  • There will be no change to current arrangements for EU citizens wanting to come to the UK in 2019 and 2020.
  • EU Citizens who enter the UK before the end of 2020, and their families, will be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. The EU Settlement Scheme is now fully open and the deadline for applying is 30 June 2021.

In a no deal scenario

  • There will be a transition period before the UK’s new skills-based immigration system begins on 1 January 2021.
  • EU citizens can enter the UK and take up work in 2019 and 2020
  • EU citizens arriving after EU exit who want to stay for more than three months after free movement ends will need to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain to continue working in the UK. This will be granted for a further 36 months, subject to identity, criminality and security checks.
  • EU citizens who have arrived before the UK leaves the EU will still be able to apply for Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme. They will have until the end of December 2020 to make their application.

What you need to do as an employer in a No Deal situation:

You need to comply with current UK employment law. 

You should continue conducting right to work checks on EU citizens in the same way as now until 1 January 2021.

You can:

  • Make your employees aware that in a no deal scenario they will need to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain, if they arrived after exit day and want to stay in the UK for more than three months.
  • Consider supporting them by looking at and signposting them to guidance on

You don’t need to:

  • Sponsor your employees for a visa
  • Sponsor your employees’ applications for European Temporary Leave to Remain
  • Pay for their applications (but you may wish to reimburse them)
  • Take responsibility for your employees leaving the UK after December 2020
  • Retrospectively check the right to work for employees who began work before 1 January 2021, once the transition period ends

If you employ seasonal workers, information can be found here.