Brexit came into force on 31 December 2020, so this Brexit Guide for Employers in Northern Ireland is essential reading.
Brexit means that free movement of people has ended in the UK. This will impact on your business if you currently employ employees from EU member states. It will also impact on future employment of such individuals.
Using this Brexit Guide for Employers
This Brexit Guide for Employers flags up the key issues your business now faces. These include understanding your EU employees’ status, their right to work and your duty as an employer.
This guide offers tips on dealing with these key issues advise you on how to deal with them. We also have some useful links below guiding you to other resources to help you.
Your EU Employees
Europeans living in the UK on, or before 31 December 2020, may retain the right to work in the UK. However, to qualify, the employee must apply for settled status, under the EU Settlement Scheme. A ‘grace period’ exists for this – EU nationals have until 30 June 2021 to apply.
Anyone who is granted settled status is permitted to continue working in the UK beyond 30 June 2021. European nationals who arrive in the UK after 31 December 2020, will need a visa, to work in the UK.
If your employee has been a resident in Northern Ireland, before 31 December 2020, they can continue to work for you. To qualify for this, you need to have completed ‘right to work’ checks. These checks involve verifying the employee’s identity by inspecting official documentation, such as their passport. You then retain copies of this documentation on file. See further details on ‘right to work’ checks here.
Your Duty as an Employer Under Brexit
You should advise all EU national staff of their requirement to apply for settled status by 30 June 2021. However, ultimate responsibility lies with the employee – they must apply, themselves. Applications can be made online.
Displaying posters in your workplace, stating how staff can make their applications is sensible. You may also wish to offer support to any staff who need it, regarding PC access and skills.
Brexit Right to Work Guidance
Until end of June 2021, employers carrying out work checks on European nationals, can accept an in-date European passport. Employers can also accept a valid national ID card, as proof to right to work. If a person is granted settled status, this can be accepted as proof.
A right to work check based on a European passport, gains a statutory defence against illegal working.
Employers found to have staff working for them, who do not have a legal right to work, can be fined. The fine can be up to £20,000 PER illegal worker.
Cross-Border or Frontier Workers Under Brexit
Frontier workers are cross-border workers. A frontier worker in Northern Ireland is an EU National employee who resides in ROI, but works in Northern Ireland. They return home at least once a week.
Under the new regulations, frontier workers must hold a frontier worker permit to enter the UK for work. This comes into effect from 1st July 2021 but DOES NOT APPLY to Irish citizens.
About Frontier Workers’ Permits
Here’s a short summary of how the system works:
- The worker applies for a frontier worker permit
- A permit lasts for 5 years and belongs to the employee. They can switch between employment.
- You can apply for a frontier permit online. It is a free application, up to 1 July 2021.
- Irish citizens do not need to apply for a frontier permit.
Points Based Immigration System under Brexit
Under the points-based system, UK employers will need to be a registered sponsor. See details here on how to apply for a sponsor licence. This enables you to recruit new employees from outside the UK. EU, EEA and Swiss citizens planning to work or study in here, will need to apply through the points-based system.
Irish citizens will continue to be able to enter the UK under the Common Travel Arrangement. They are not required to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme or under the new points-based scheme.
Non-Irish EU citizens, living in the Republic, who wish to work cross-border, will need to apply to the points-based system.
Recap of Next Steps for Employers under Brexit
- Ensure employees are aware of the EU Settlement Scheme – target your communications to encourage them to apply.
- Continue to use the same ‘right to work’ checks until 30th June 2021.
- Employers are not expected to check if the employee has applied to the settlement scheme. It is your duty to carry out appropriate checks, in line with your recruitment process, when an employee is appointed. It is the employee’s responsibility to apply for settlement.
- Allow appropriate time to act, if intending to be a sponsor.
- New immigration system – what you need to know
- Toolkits and podcast link
- UK points-based immigration system – employers and EU citizens
- Recruiting people from outside the UK from 1 January 2021
- EU Settlement Scheme – employer toolkit
- Frontier worker permit
If you require any assistance with your HR requirements, we are more than happy to help, contact Julie Pollock on 07858089006 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide you with general information on the EU Migration Scheme. You should take professional advice prior to making any decisions in line with this guide.