HR & Employment Law update on the Right to Work for Immigrants and Migrants by Claudia Williams
What are the changes to the Right to Work in the UK?
Employers have a legal duty to ensure that their employees have the Right to Work in the UK. If you fail to carry out these checks correctly and are found to be employing someone illegally, you could face a civil penalty of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker, plus criminal charges, and reputational damage.
As we know, the UK has now left the EU and as a result, from 30 June 2021, the way an employer should check an employee Right to Work in the UK will change.
What Right to Work stipulations are currently in place?
The EU Settlement Scheme
This allows EU citizens currently living in the UK to apply for either a pre-settled or a settled status, both of which enable that individual to continue living and working in the UK. To be eligible to apply, the applicant must have been living in the UK before 31 December 2020.
The deadline to apply for the EU settlement scheme is 30 June 2021.
The points-based immigration system
For anyone arriving and seeking work in the UK on or after the 1 January 2021, certain criteria must be met. The new system gives top priority to highly skilled workers, students, and a range of other specialist work routes and the system treats EU and non-EU citizens equally.
Therefore, anyone you want to hire from outside the UK (excluding Irish citizens) will need to apply for permission in advance. Visas are then awarded to those who gain enough points.
A Sponsorship Licence
From 1 January 2021, employers will require a sponsor license should they wish to hire skilled people from EEA countries.
Before applying to be a sponsor you should check that the people you want to hire will meet the requirements for coming to the UK for work. The application process is online via the Government website.
How do we actually check an employee’s legal Right to Work in the UK?
Until the 30th of June 2021:
- As long as the individual was in the UK before the 31 December 2020, you can continue to accept their EU/EEA/Swiss issued passport/ID card and indefinite leave to remain as proof of right to work.
- If they have already applied to the EU settlement scheme, they can choose provide an online share code that can be accessed by following instructions stated in their EU scheme status confirmation.
- EU/EEA and Swiss citizens who arrived in the UK after the 31 December 2020 will be required to hold a visa. Also, if you are intending to hire someone to come to the UK, you will require a sponsorship licence.
What is interesting is that Government guidance specifically states that you are not expected to differentiate between EEA nationals who arrived before 31 December 2020 and those who arrived after. Therefore, up to 30 June 2021, candidates do not have to agree to share their status using the online checking service and they can provide their passport or national identity card as an alternative.
The Government guidance also suggests that up to 30 June, an employer that insists on seeing evidence of settled or pre-settled status risks a complaint of race discrimination – therefore, proceed with caution.
From the 1st of July 2021:
- From this date, you will not be able to employ an individual until you have completed the required right to work checks.
- Individuals who applied to the EU settlement scheme will be required to prove their right to work via an online share code. This can be accessed by following instructions stated in their EU scheme status confirmation. Those with indefinite leave to remain are not affected.
- EU/EEA and Swiss citizens who arrived in the UK after the 31st of December 2020 will be required to hold a visa to live and work in the UK. Also, if you are intending to hire someone to come to the UK, you will need to hold a valid sponsor licence.
The final point to note is that if an employer has conducted a compliant right to work check for an EEA or Swiss national before 30 June 2021, it does not need to repeat this. This means that you will not need to make retrospective checks for existing employees.
Guidance for Clubs with Club Insure
The only way for clubs to truly stay informed and protected is to use a broker. Club Insure have over 20 years experience in the insurance sector and are up-to-date on all the new legislation related to your club. We maintain a solid relationship with all our clients built on trust and expertise, and its why we will reach out when a change affects your policies or business.
For more information or to get in touch, contact us.