The Home Office has updated ‘An employers’ guide to right to work checks’, which provide guidance on the right to work for EU citizens starting work in the UK between January 1 and June 30, 2021.

Until the end of this grace period, employers can still rely on verifying the an EEA or Swiss national’s right to remain in the UK by checking their passport or national ID card as evidence of their identity and right to work in the UK.

There is no obligation to apply different criteria to those EU citizens who arrived in the UK before 11pm on December 31, 2020 in comparison to those who arrived from January 1, 2021.

The guidance also confirmed that no mandatory requirement for employers to undertake retrospective checks on EU citizens employed before June 30, 2021 is to be applied during the grace period.

Employers will continue to benefit from protection against a civil penalty if their employee is working illegally in the UK as long as:

a right to work check is undertaken in line with right to work legislation and guidance

the employer does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the employee has no right to work in the UK.

For prospective UK employees who already have status under the EU Settlement Scheme, or under the points-based immigration system, employers may encourage them to evidence their right to work using the Home Office online service. That said, employers are not allowed to insist that EU citizens use the online service, nor discriminate against those who still want to use their passport or national identity card as evidence of their right to work during the grace period.

However, from July 1, 2021, all EU citizens (other than Irish nationals) will need to provide evidence of immigration status using the online service, rather than nationality, to demonstrate they have a right to work in the UK. Further guidance should hopefully be published soon.