Changes to right-to-work checks for EEA and Swiss nationals

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Changes to right-to-work checks for EEA and Swiss nationals

From 1 July 2021, European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals will no longer be able to use their passports or national identity cards as evidence of their right-to-work in the UK (Irish nationals are an exception to this).

If an EEA or Swiss national has settled or pre-settled status, you should use the online right to work checking service to check this. The candidate must provide you with a share code and their date of birth to use the service.

If a candidate is waiting for the outcome of an application for settled or pre-settled status, they have the right to work pending the decision. If the candidate has a digital certificate of application, you can use the online right to work checking service to confirm this. Otherwise, you will need to use the Employer Checking Service to obtain confirmation of the outstanding application from the Home Office.

If a candidate does not have settled or pre-settled status, they will need to prove that they have another status giving them the right to work in the UK. If this is a type of status that cannot be checked using the online checking service, you will need to check the candidate’s documents.

Guidance on how to carry out a right-to-work check, including which documents can be accepted as evidence from 1 July 2021, is set out in the draft Code of practice on preventing illegal working. The code is currently in draft form, but it is not expected that significant changes will be made prior to it being finalised.

The new rules, set out in the draft code, apply to checks carried out on or after 1 July 2021 (so an employer could rely on an EEA passport for a right to work check carried out before 1 July 2021, even where the candidate begins work after 1 July 2021).

Government guidance states that there is no requirement for employers to carry out retrospective checks for existing EEA and Swiss national employees, employed prior to 1 July 2021, to check that they have obtained settled or pre-settled status. Employers can continue to rely on compliant right-to-work checks carried out before 1 July 2021.