Employment Law Update: Changes to the Right to Work Checks

Wednesday 25th November 2020

With 31st December 2020 being the end of the Brexit transition period, here is a summary of the changes in relation to Right to Work checks.

Pre-31st December 2020:

  • EEA citizens have freedom of movement into the UK.
  • Right to Work checks are carried out in the same way they are now (e.g. passport check/national identity card check for EEA citizens or employers can use the online status tracker which confirms settled or pre-settled status).

Changes from 1st January 2021:


  • Freedom of movement for EEA citizens stops.
  • A single post-Brexit immigration system applies to all persons seeking to enter the UK from 1 January 2021 (excluding Ireland).
    • This is a points based system requiring employers to sponsor migrants, having first obtained a sponsorship licence.
    • Existing employees have until 30 June 2021 to apply for settled or pre-settled status.
    • Irish nationals are treated differently. Irish nationals can apply for status under the Settlement Scheme but it is not a necessity.

Right to Work Checks

  • For existing employees employed before 31 December 2020 and for whom pre-work checks have already been done, there is no requirement to get evidence that the employee has settled or pre-settled status.
  • EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will use an online service to view their immigration status and to prove their status to their employer.
  • For new starters, until 30 June 2021 as a transition measure, employers can continue to accept passports and national identity cards of EU/EEA/Swiss citizens in the same way as pre 1 January 2021.
  • Non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens can continue to use a physical document to prove immigration status. Those with a valid, current Biometric Residence Permit, Biometric Residence Card or status granted under the EU Settlement Scheme can also prove their right to work to an employer using an online service.

If you require any further information on the above developments please do not hesitate to get in contact with a member of the Employment Team.