Brexit Means: Not Quite Sure

By Christian Ayerst · Feb 15, 2021

On 31 December 2020 the Brexit transition period ended – meaning that from 1 January 2021 the world of hiring staff from European Union countries looks very different.

Some issues remain to be decided. Some issues will take some time to be properly resolved. But here the gigl team have consolidated some of the key points to be aware of. 

  • I run a bar/restaurant and someone with an EU passport has asked to work here. Can I employ them?

    • Unless the candidate is a UK or Irish citizen or has settled/pre-settled status, they will need a visa to work. 

    • Ask to see a copy of their settled status/pre-settled status of application, or their right to work visa. 

  • I want to recruit a skilled worker from the EU. Can I?

    • Not without a sponsored visa. Freedom of movement between the UK and the EU has now ended. So your employee must apply for permission and meet certain requirements first (part of the points-based system).

    • A “Skilled Worker” can work (subject to receiving permission). However, a “Skilled Worker” does not currently include bar staff, catering staff, cleanings and room attendants. 

  • Are there any exceptions to this? 

    • Yes. If they’re an Irish citizen they can continue to live and work in the UK without needing pre-permission – for skilled work or non-skilled work. 

    • If your prospective employee is (i) an EEA or Swiss citizen and (ii) already living in the UK by 31 December 2020 and (iii) has applied for settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (by 30 June 2021) they won’t need to apply for permission – for skilled work or non-skilled work. 

What is “settled” or “pre-settled status”? It’s an application someone can make online to the government effective for a right to remain, provided the above criteria are met:

  • Do I still need to check a job applicant’s right to work?

    • Yes – you should ask to see evidence and satisfy yourself that the individual has the right to work in the UK. 

    • You can do this by looking at their original documents or online (if they provide you with their passcode):

I’m an EU citizen. I want to come to the UK to work. 

  • Can I just book a ticket and find a job when I arrive?

    • Unless you have an Irish passport, no. You will need a right to work in the UK. If you’re living in the UK (at 31 December 2020) you should apply for settled or pre-settled status (but do this by 30 June 2021):

  • I have a specialist skill – can I come and work?

    • Potentially. However – your employer will need to apply for a skilled-worker license. 

    • There may be other visas you are entitled to apply for. Some of these will require an employer sponsorship, some will need proof of monies, and some will need other document requirements:

 There are obvious issues to overcome – such as staffing requirements in the seasonal work sectors which are typically filled by EU citizens. There are exceptions for this (such as the T5 visa) but these do require pre-planning by both the employer and the employee. 

Until the government says otherwise we must assume that the position remains as it does today: unless an applicant has a settled/pre-settled status or a visa allowing them to perform that work, the work can only be performed by a UK or Irish citizen. 

We are keeping a close eye on the constant changing state of the market and will make sure we keep you updated. In the meantime, here are a couple of other really useful places with lots of information.