FAQs on the movement of people and workers after the transition period

After the transition period the freedom of movement for UK and EU citizens between the UK and EU Member States will end.

Through the negotiations the UK and the EU will seek to agree movement rights for workers and for short term stay. If a deal is reached this will allow fly-in fly-out services as well as the intra-transfer of employees within companies which operate across both the UK and the EU.

For long term stay and residency the UK Government will implement a new points-based immigration system from 1 January 2021. Further details on this can be found here.

EU citizens resident in the UK should seek to apply for the EU settlement scheme. This a free scheme which can be applied to up until 30 June 2021.

If your application is successful, EU citizens will be granted either settled or pre-settled status.

Settled status will allow permeant residency in the UK, while pre-settled status will allow for a further five years of residency from the date pre-settled status is granted.

More information on the UK’s EU Settlement scheme can be found here.

UK citizens living in EU member states should seek information from the immigration department of that member state. Each member state may have a distinct regime for UK citizen settlement after the transition period.

Please note Irish and UK citizens will still be able to move freely and settle between the UK, Ireland and the Crown Dependencies (Bailiwick of Jersey, Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Isle of Man) through the Common Travel Area after the end of the transition period.

techUK has provided answers to some frequently asked questions on the movement of people after end of the transition period below. Please not that most of these questions relate to a non-negotiated outcome between the UK and the EU.

Please note the below should not be taken as advice from techUK to individual businesses. Business preparing for the end of the transition period should seek to follow Government guidance and, where needed, independent legal advice.

techUK will update this list of FAQs if a deal which covers short and business stays is reached.

 

I am an EU national living in the UK, what status do I have once the transition period has expired on 1 January 2021?

The Home Office has provided clear guidelines on the position of EU/EEA/Swiss nationals in the UK after the transition period.

EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who are already residing in the UK at the end of the transition period will be able to continue residing and working in the UK.

They will be required to register for Settled or Pre-Settled Status in the UK by 30 June 2021. This will allow EU/EEA/Swiss nationals to extend their leave to remain up to five years or indefinitely if an application for settled status is successful.

 

I employ an EU national(s) in my business who has been given pre-settled status, do they need a different contract/ what are my obligations?

No, there is no need to issue up-dated contractual terms to your EU staff who have been given pre-settled status.

In terms of employer obligations, applications to register under the EU Settlement Scheme are an individual’s responsibility. However, good staff communication will help everyone understand more fully the steps that they need to take and feel more ready for the end of the transition period.


Employers should be mindful of their legal limitations in this regard. You are not permitted under law to assist applicants in the actual application process or do the application for them. You should also be aware that doing so may expose you to liabilities should that person’s application prove unsuccessful.

There is no obligation to re-check the right to work for existing EU staff. Changes to the right to work check process for new members of staff will take effect from July 2021.

 

What do I do if an EU national employee does not want to register via the EU Settlement scheme?

As there is no requirement to request evidence that an existing employee has registered under the EU Settlement Scheme, there is no legal obligation to take any action on an employee who refuses to register.

However, employers may wish to advise their EU population that it is in their best interest to ensure that they register in order to access housing, healthcare etc.

Most importantly, if they change employers after 1 July 2021 without having registered under the EU Settlement Scheme, their new employer will not legally be allowed to hire them. Similarly, if an EU national who has not registered under the scheme travels out of the UK post 30 June 2021, they may also face difficulties upon return to the UK.

 

I am currently hiring an EU national/ accepting a job as an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen what do I need to do?

EU/EEA/Swiss nationals will require work authorization if they intend to work in the UK after 1 July 2021.

This can either be obtained by applying through the EU Settlement Scheme before 30 June 2021 or the new UK points-based immigration system.

There is no change to your current obligations to check new employees' right to work documentation. The Home Office has said that there is no obligation for you to retrospectively check any EU/EEA/Swiss nationals' status.

EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens can continue to use your passport or national identity card to prove you can work in the UK until 30 June 2021.

You will need to check the right to work of new EU nationals that you wish to hire from 1 July 2021. The requirements for employers will be set out through the UK’s new immigration system.

 

One of my employees is an EU national but has permanent residency, do they need to do anything?

The employee will still need to register for Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme even if they hold an EEA Permanent Residence Card.

Settled Status will be issued to qualifying EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who have proof of 5+ years of residence in the UK.

Settled Status is akin to Indefinite Leave to Remain (which is already existing Permanent Residence status granted to all those who are eligible, not only EU/EEA/Swiss nationals) and allows those with it to work and reside in the UK indefinitely.

 

I employ an EU national in the UK with a spouse and dependents who live with them, what do they need to do for their family if there is no deal?

EU/EEA/Swiss or non-EU/EEA/Swiss family members of an EU/EEA/Swiss national who are already resident in the UK will be eligible for apply for Settled or Pre-Settled Status.

 

One of my employees, with a UK passport, will be working in another EU Member State after the 31 December– will they need a visa?

After the transition period the immigration position of a UK citizen will be subject to the domestic laws of that Member State, unless separate agreements are reached with the UK.

 

One of my employees will be returning from a business visit in an EU Member State country after 31 December 2020– what will change after the trasnition period?

In a non-negotiated outcome, after the transition period UK nationals will be subject to the same work permit requirements as third country nationals.

This means that they will need to restrict their activities to those that are deemed permissible as a business visitor in the particular country they are going to and at the same time, they will need to restrict their time in the Schengen area to 90 days in a 180 day period.

In other words, UK nationals who either plan to be in the EU for more than 90 days in a 180 day period or who will be carrying out activities that go beyond the permissible business activities regardless of length of stay are very likely to require a work permit for each EU country that they intend to travel to.

There are a few exceptions to the above, for example where a work permit exemption may be applicable, or in the case of certain countries that have adopted a more relaxed approach to business visitors.

During the negotiations the UK and the EU are seeking to negotiate new terms to manage business visitors between the two jurisdictions. We will update this page if a deal covering the movement of people for business purposes is reached.

 

How will future travel to the EU for the servicing of contracts or other purposes be affected?

In a non-negotiated outcome UK nationals will need to assess whether the activities that they will be carrying out require work authorization in that EU Member State, or whether they can benefit from a work permit exemption or simply travel in as a Schengen business visitor.

Regardless of the activity that the UK national will be carrying out, if they will be in the EU country for more than 90 days in a six month period, it is advisable for them to obtain a work/residence permit for that EU country in question.

During the negotiations the UK and the EU are seeking to negotiate new terms to manage business visitors between the two jurisdictions. We will update this page if a deal covering the movement of people for business purposes is reached.

 

Will the mutual recognition of professional qualifications continue if the UK leaves the EU without a deal?

Regulated professional services providers, such as lawyers and auditors, currently rely on the mutual recognition of professional qualifications to provide cross-border services within the EU; the requirements vary depending on the specific service being provided. In a no deal scenario, there will no longer be mutual recognition of professional qualifications.

In the event of a non-negotiated outcome UK business professionals seeking to provide services in the EEA or Switzerland, will need to have their UK professional qualification recognised by the relevant profession in each country in which services are provided. This applies in the case of temporary or occasional work as well as full time work. Specific rules in relation to law and audit apply.

During the negotiations the UK and the EU are seeking to negotiate new terms to manage the recognition of professional qualifications. We will update this page if a deal covering the recognition of professional qualifications is reached.

 

Will UK nationals who are Frontier workers be able to continue to work in the EU accordingly after the transition period?

A frontier worker is UK citizen that lives outside of the EU/EEA/ Switzerland, is employed or self-employed in the EU/EEA and commutes to the EU/EEA regularly for this reason.

At the end of the transition period, UK nationals who are frontier workers in the EU will be subject to each individual EU country's immigration rules.

Some EU countries have indicated that they will adopt measures that are reciprocal to the UK. The specific requirements for how a UK national can protect their right of residence in an EU country will be unique to each EU/EEA country.

Many EU/EEA countries require proof of accommodation in order to register or obtain a residence permit and hotel/Air BnB bookings are often not accepted.

During the negotiations the UK and the EU are seeking to negotiate new terms to manage business visitors between the two jurisdictions, including frontier workers. We will update this page if a deal covering the movement of people for business purposes is reached.

 

Will EU/EEA/Swiss Frontier workers be able to continue working in the UK after the transition period?

A frontier worker is an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen that lives outside of the UK but is employed or self-employed in the UK and commutes to the UK regularly for this reason.

Whether the UK leaves the EU with a deal or not, frontier workers that began employment or self-employment in the UK by 31 December 2020 will be able to continue working in the UK as such. After 31 December 2020, frontier workers should check their requirements against any new UK immigration system.

If a frontier worker stops frontier working and starts living in the UK before 30 June 2021, they will need to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. If they fail to meet the requirements for the EU Settlement Scheme, they will need to apply for leave to remain through the new immigration system.

Further information on Frontier workers’ rights after Brexit can be found on the Frontier workers' rights page of the Home Office website.

 

Are the rules for working in and traveling to the EU uniform among all Member States?

No, UK nationals will need to adhere to the immigration rules set out by each individual EU Member State if seeking to work and reside in that Member State post-Brexit (if there is no deal).

 

Will there be any changes to remote workers who are employed by an entity in one country but work from a separate country?

There may be an impact on remote workers, depending on the country in which they are employed (i.e. where their employment contract is held) and the country in which they are currently working from.

 

How will Brexit affect the social security position for internationally mobile employees employed by UK entities?

In the event of a non-negotiated outcome, there may be changes for UK employers who have people working in the EU, the EEA or Switzerland.

Currently the EU Social Security Coordination Regulations ensure employers and their workers only need to pay social security contributions (such as National Insurance contributions in the UK) in one country at a time.

However, if the UK leaves without an agreement on social security co-ordination the coordination between the UK and the EU will end.

This will mean that your employees working in the EU, the EEA or Switzerland may need to make social security contributions in both the UK and the country in which they are working at the same time.

See here current HMRC guidance on employees working abroad.

 

techUK will update this if a deal is struck between the UK and the EU which cover social security co-ordination.

  • Neil Ross

    Neil Ross

    Policy Manager | Digital Economy
    T 078 4276 5470

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