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Updated Guidance on Right to Work Check Grace Period for EU Citizens

on Friday, 26 March 2021.

The Home Office has updated 'An employers' guide to right to work checks', which provides guidance on the right to work for EU citizens starting work in the UK between 1 January and 30 June 2021.

Until the end of this grace period, employers can still rely on verifying an EEA or Swiss National's right to remain in the UK by checking their passport or national ID card as evidence of their identity and right to work in the UK.

The guidance has confirmed that there is no obligation to apply different criteria to those EU citizens who arrived in the UK before 11pm on 31 December 2020 (ie under EU free movement) in comparison to those who arrived from 1 January 2021 (under UK immigration laws).

The guidance also confirmed that no mandatory requirement for employers to undertake retrospective checks on EU citizens employed before 30 June 2021 is to be applied during the grace period.

This means that an employer will continue to benefit from protection against a civil penalty if their employee is working illegally in the UK as long as:

  • a right to work check is undertaken in line with right to work legislation and guidance
  • the employer does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the employee has no right to work in the UK.

For those prospective UK employees who already have status under the EU Settlement Scheme, or under the points-based immigration system, employers may encourage them to evidence their right to work using the Home Office online service. That said, employers are not allowed to insist that EU citizens use the online service, nor can they discriminate against those who still want to use their passport or national identity card as evidence of their right to work during the grace period.

However, from 1 July 2021, all EU citizens (other than Irish nationals) will need to provide evidence of immigration status using the online service, rather than nationality, to demonstrate they have a right to work in the UK. We await further guidance on conducting right to work checks from 1 July 2021 onwards in due course.

If you would like further guidance on the right to work requirements in the UK (whether as an employer or employee) please contact any member of our Immigration Law team on 07884 580165, or complete the form below.

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