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Forget about the pandemic for a second: what is happening with your right to work after Brexit?

Forget about the pandemic for a second: what is happening with your right to work after Brexit?

Wednesday 20th May 2020

As there is so much attention grabbed by the coronavirus, we wanted to raise your awareness in regards to EU citizens' right to work in the United Kingdom after Brexit.

The first message that we want to deliver is that if you are an EU citizen or a family member of an EU national, currently living in the UK, you will need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme as soon as possible. The deadline for this is 30th June 2021, as long as you are living in the UK before 31st December 2020.

Now back to the implications of Brexit, the Policy Paper published on 19th February 2020 named "The UK's point-based immigration system: policy statement", provides some clarity in regard to the future Immigration Rules. Nevertheless, the policy is not the law, as of yet, which means that it can change and therefore, please bear this in mind when making any decisions. The notion of the approach, taken by the Home Office, is that cheap labour from Europe should be substituted for technology and innovation.

At this moment, the EU citizens can still come to the UK and work and they do not need permission to do so. From 1st January 2021, non-EU and EU citizens will be treated equally. This means that an EU citizen willing to come to the UK for work will have to jump certain hurdles, which is discussed below.

So, what do you have to do to work in the UK if you come after 31st December 2020?

1) The employer will have to be licenced to sponsor an EU or non-EU migrant.
2) A migrant will have to make an online application before travelling to the UK.
3) A migrant will have to demonstrate the required skill level, speak English and have an appropriate salary:
a) Required skill level - the level is officially referred to as RQF3, which is an A-level equivalent;
b) English language proficiency will have to be proved to be at a necessary level which is not specified at the moment;
c) An appropriate salary of £25,600, or the salary is not less than £20,480 and the job is in shortage occupation, or the salary is above £23,040 and the migrant has PhD relevant to the job. Therefore if you would earn less than the required minimum salary threshold, but no less than £20,480, you may still be able to come if you can demonstrate that you have a job offer in a specific shortage occupation or that you have a PhD relevant to the job.
4) After submitting your application and all the supporting documents, most EU citizens will submit facial biometrics using smartphone (self-enrolment) and there would be no need for physical fingerprints enrolment. However, non-EU citizens will submit biometrics at a Visa Application Centre.
5) The employer is likely to have to pay Immigration Skills Surcharge (as of now, it is £182 or £500 per half a year of the employee's visa depending on the size of employer).
6) The employee might have to pay Immigration Health Surcharge (from October 2020 it will be £624 per year of your visa and might increase again).

If the application is approved and the visa is granted, most EU citizens will be issued with an e-visa which confirms their right to be in the UK. EU citizens can check and prove their status online. Non-EU citizens will be issued with a physical documentation in paper form.

Please note that from 1st January 2021, the EU citizens coming to the UK as visitors and not intending to work can do so for a period of 6 months in any year.

There will be no cap on visas issued to workers monthly and there will be no resident labour market test. This means that hiring for employers will be easier.

Furthermore, access to income-related benefits will be the same for EU and non-EU citizens arriving after January 2021 and it will only be permitted after indefinite leave to remain is granted, which is usually issued after five years of continuous residence in the UK.

The EU and non-EU citizens will have access to NHS.

There will be no separate route for lower-skilled workers.

Lastly, on arrival to the UK, EU citizens, citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA, who possess biometric passports, will continue to be able to use e-gates to pass through the UK border.

Please note that there would be other ways to come to the UK to work if you are highly-skilled worker such as by using the Innovator, Start-up or Global Talent visa routes.

Should you want to apply for sponsor licence in order to sponsor migrants after 1st January 2021, or you want to apply for an EU settlement Scheme or you need a consultation, we can help you. Please contact info@lslegaluk.com and we will assist you with your query (from a 2 meter distance or online, of course).