Right to work in the UK

Clio SpringerEditor's message: Significant changes have been made to the rules on the right to work in the UK.

From the start of 2021, freedom of movement ended and nationals of any European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland arriving in the UK face restrictions on their right to work for the first time in many years.

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.

During a grace period from 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021, EEA and Swiss national job applicants were able to continue to prove their right to work on the basis of their EEA or Swiss passport or national identity card. However, this changed from 1 July 2021. The Home Office has published revised guidance, which includes new lists of acceptable documents that employers should use to verify job applicants' right to work from that date. Alternatively, an employer may be able to use the online right to work checking service.

Clio Springer, senior employment law editor

New and updated