A new UK immigration system for employing non-UK workers

08 Mar 2021

A new UK immigration system is now in force for anyone coming to the UK for work. From 1 January 2021, those coming from abroad, whether from EU countries or elsewhere, will be subject to a new points-based immigration system. The new regime will make it more difficult for companies to hire EU or EEA nationals, as many will now require a visa to lawfully live and work in the UK, unless they have Settled or Pre-Settled status under the UK’s EU Settlement Scheme. Irish nationals will continue to be able to live, work and study in the UK without obtaining a visa.

Many work visas require the individual to be sponsored by their employer, so those who want to recruit from other countries going forward will need to apply for a sponsorship licence.

There is a deadline of 30 June 2021, for EEA nationals who are already living in the UK on 31 December 2020, to apply for Settled or Pre-Settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Employers must continue to carry out right to work checks before employing anyone, as was the case prior to Brexit. Employers can continue to use EEA and Swiss passports and national identity cards as evidence of an individual’s right to work in the UK until 30 June 2021. Employers can request a candidate to confirm if they have settled or pre settled status. However up to 30 June candidates do not have to agree to share this data, and an employer who insists this prior to 30 June, runs the risk of a race discrimination complaint.  This may pose issues for any new starters during the period of 1 January and 30 June as it may be difficult to determine if the employee was already in the UK prior to the 1 January 2021, and therefore whether or not they require a visa. 

There is no need for Employers to carry out retrospective right to work checks for existing EEA and Swiss national employees to confirm if they have either pre or settled status if satisfactory right to work checks have already been completed. 

Here to help

If you have any questions about the post Brexit right to work checks for your employees, please contact our HR Advisory team on 01743 273273 or email

Logo Icon

Subscribe To Our Quarterly Newsletter

Sign up with your email address to receive a quarterly roundup of industry news, insights, tips and success story’s from the world of Tax, Accountancy and Business Strategy.


"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Get in Touch

We love meeting new, exciting businesses. Get in touch with our team to see how we could enhance and protect your financial position.

Or if you’d prefer to speak to someone directly just give us a call on: 08000 664 664 or email:

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Want to talk to someone?

Give us a call on
08000 664 664

Email us on

WR Partners office locations
View Locations

We are a leading firm of accountants, auditors, and tax specialists who help businesses protect their wealth and generate profit.