26 November 2021

Right-to-work checks crucial to post-Brexit compliance, say legal experts

Experts from Field Seymour Parkes urge employers to have frequent conversations with EU citizens and offer ongoing support at recent employment law seminar


Maryam Munir

Maryam Munir

Maryam Munir worked as a content marketing writer at Ciphr from 2019 to 2021.


Employment law Future of Work


Experts from Field Seymour Parkes urge employers to have frequent conversations with EU citizens and offer ongoing support at recent employment law seminar

Post-Brexit immigration rules and the importance of right-to-work checks were high on the agenda at Field Seymour Parkes’ employment and immigration law breakfast briefing series this January, hosted by partner Ian Machray and senior associate Imelda Reddington.

What’s changing?

The UK is expected to change its immigration system in 2021 as a result of Brexit. According to the Home Office, this change will see the introduction of an Australian-style points-based system that will scrap the £30,000 minimum salary threshold for tier 2 visas. Instead, points would be allocated in terms of age, work experience, qualifications and relevant skills. The points will then determine salaries.

This proposed system will introduce the following routes:

  • ‘Exceptional talent/contribution’ – highly educated migrants, world-leading award winners or exceptional talent, sponsored entrepreneurs setting up a new business or investors
  • ‘Skilled workers’ – those with a confirmed job offer. Special types – such as those on an NHS visa – will also receive fast-track entry and reduced fees
  • ‘Sector-specific rules-based’ – made up of specific temporary schemes such as for low-skilled labour, youth mobility or short-term visits. These will be revised on an ongoing basis based on expert advice from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC). These visas will be time-limited and will not provide a path to settlement

What does this mean for HR?

Employers and HR professionals need to be prepared to carry out right-to-work checks and should encourage any EEA (European Economic Area) nationals to register under the EU Settlement Scheme by 31 December 2020, which marks the end of the transition period.

EEA nationals (plus their family members) residing in the UK must register under the settlement scheme by 31 December 2020 if they are to remain in the UK after December 2020.

Employers should provide support where needed and where possible. By having frequent conversations with employees to find out what their status is and what they need help with, they are more likely to open up to you, recommended the Field Seymour Parkes team. Without these conversations, employees may not share their status with you until they are required to do so on 1 January 2021.

When looking at right-to-work checks, it is worth noting that no changes will be applied for EU citizens until January 2021. To prove their right to work, individuals citizens can still use their passport or national identity card if they’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen; use their biometric residence card if they’re a non-EU, EEA or Swiss citizen family member; or use their status under the EU Settlement Scheme or EU Temporary Leave Scheme.

For existing EU, EEA and Swiss employees, no checks will again be required on or after 1 January 2021. But the legal experts warned HR professionals to watch out for potential changes to checks for new employees after January 2021.