Right to work in the UK

Editor's message: Since the start of 2021 and the end of freedom of movement, nationals of any European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland arriving in the UK have faced restrictions on their right to work.

Essentially, employers have to treat them the same as nationals of countries outside the EEA and ensure that the correct visas and permissions are in place. In most cases, employers need to have a sponsor licence to employ any foreign national as a skilled worker.

However, EEA and Swiss nationals with “settled” or “pre-settled” status are exempt from the restrictions, as are Irish nationals.

The rules on right to work checks are often updated as are the lists of acceptable documents that employers should use to verify job applicants' right to work. The requirements changed again on 6 April 2022, with the circumstances in which employers must use the online right to work checking service, increasing. Further, 30 September 2022 marked the end of temporary changes to right to work checks that were introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

New and updated