The end of the transition period on 31 December 2020 means your business should be taking preparatory steps now to protect its international workforce.
EU nationals who are resident in the UK as at 31 December 2020 have the right to continue working and living in the UK under the Settlement Scheme. Those with five years’ residence will have Settled Status; those with less than five years’ residence will have Pre-Settled Status. Applications under the Settlement Scheme must be made by 30 June 2021. We recommend that employers speak to their EU workforce and encourage them to make their applications for Settled or Pre-Settled Status as soon as possible.
EU nationals who qualify for Settled or Pre-Settled Status can continue to rely on their European passport as evidence of their right to work in the UK until 30 June 2021. Employers should repeat their right to work checks at the end of June 2021 and keep a record of an employee’s Settled or Pre-Settled Status on their personnel file.
EU nationals who want to come to the UK to live and work from 1 January 2021 will do so under the UK’s points-based system, unless they are applying to join their family in the UK or relying on some other route under the immigration rules. Businesses who rely on EU nationals need to be aware that recruitment under the points-based system is more complex and costly. Employers who want to recruit any foreign national residing outside of the UK from 1 January under the points-based system will need to have a sponsorship licence enabling them to do so. Employers should start thinking about applying for a sponsorship licence now to avoid any delays to the recruitment process in the future.