How should employers prepare for the end of the Brexit transition period?
European Economic Area (EEA)/Swiss employees who are living in the UK before 1 January 2021 must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 to continue to live and work in the UK. If the application is successful, the individual will be granted either settled or pre-settled status, depending on how long they have been continuously resident in the UK, and will therefore secure their right to live and work in the UK. If the application is not successful, or is not submitted by 30 June 2021, the individual might lose the right to live and work in the UK.
Employers would be wise to assess their current workforce and carry out checks on employees’ nationality and immigration status, so as to identify which employees are required to apply for status under the Settlement Scheme.
Although employers are not legally obliged to communicate with their employees about the Settlement Scheme, it might be useful to provide guidance to existing EEA/Swiss employees and encourage them to apply to the Scheme. This will help ensure that the working relationship can seamlessly continue beyond 30 June 2021 and will avoid any unnecessary disruption for the business.
It is important that employers should continue to comply with their duty not to discriminate against EU, EEA or Swiss citizens and should be aware that they cannot require employees to prove their status under the EU Settlement Scheme until after 30 June 2021. Until 30 June 2021, employers will continue to be able to check a job applicant’s right to work in the same way as they currently do.
Recruiting EEA/Swiss individuals from 1 January 2021
The existing Tier 2 (General) route will close and will be replaced by the Skilled Worker route. From 1 January 2021, employers will need to sponsor EEA/Swiss nationals who do not already have status to enable them to accept an offer of employment. In order to sponsor migrants through the Skilled Worker route, employers must be a licenced sponsor. If employers are planning on sponsoring skilled migrants from January 2021 and do not currently hold a sponsor licence, they should apply for a sponsor licence as soon as possible due to high expected levels of demand for this service as we approach the deadline of 1 January 2021. Employers who already hold a Tier 2 (General) sponsor licence will not need to reapply for a sponsor licence, as they will automatically be granted a new Skilled Worker licence with an expiry date consistent with their current licence.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Sejal Raja or Ben Dos Santos.
This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.