We left the EU on 30 December 2020, but I hear something is changing with EU workers on 30th June 2021. That’s only a month away, so what do I need to do?

All prospective employees should undergo a Right to Work check, regardless of whether they appear to be from the UK, from the EU or from any other country. There are civil and criminal penalties for employers who fail to do so. Right to Work checks can be carried out in a number of ways, most commonly manually or via the online system at Gov.Uk.

Applicants for employment must produce a document from ‘LIST A’ which proves an indefinite right to live and work in the UK, or ‘LIST B’ which confers a limited/conditional right to stay and work.

When the UK was a member of the EU, all EU citizens (and indeed the wider EEA – European Economic Area, plus Swiss nationals) could live and work in the UK without restriction. Provision therefore of an acceptable document to the Home Office to demonstrate EEA/Swiss nationality was a ‘LIST A’ document and carrying out the check in the right way, as prescribed by the Home Office, would ensure that they could live and work in the UK permanently.

Up until 30 June 2021 (so not long now) the latest government guidance says that a prospective employee from an EEA country can still provide the evidence of nationality under LIST A and if the Right to Work check is undertaken correctly, then the employer can maintain what is known as the “statutory excuse,” which means that even if the employee was later found to be illegally working, as long as the employer did not know or have good cause to suspect they were illegally working, then they should escape liability.

After 30 June 2021, that situation for EEA citizens will change:

Provided the prospective employee from the EEA country has applied for Settled Status under the European Union Settled Status scheme (EUSS), then a document will be issued verifying EUSS status (and that should appear on the Home Office online checking system). People with EUSS status can live and work here indefinitely as before, just as they could when we were in the EU. To obtain Settled Status, an EU citizen has to have been living in the UK before 30 December 2020 and have applied successfully under the scheme (closing date 30th June 2021).

If they were not living here before 30 December 2020 and if they don’t have settled status, then they will need the appropriate Visa or Permit under ‘List B’ of the Home Office list of documents (which confer a limited/conditional right to work).

Note: we are also expecting further government guidance before July, so watch this space.

There are exceptions to the above, as immigration rules are complex, so seek advice if needed. Don’t forget, this advice is general in nature and will need to be tailored to any one particular situation. As an RMI member you have access to the RMI Legal advice line, as well as a number of industry experts for your assistance. Should you find yourself in the situation above, contact us at any stage for advice and assistance as appropriate.


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Motor Industry Legal Services (MILS Solicitors) provides fully comprehensive legal advice and representation to UK motor retailers for one annual fee. It is the only law firm in the UK which specialises in motor law and motor trade law. MILS currently advises over 1,000 individual businesses within the sector as well as the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) and its members.