Here at Howarth Morris, we are fortunate to work with businesses that are motivated and at the top of their industries.


Helping our clients stay ahead of the game has always been our main focus and is one that we are totally committed to. We achieve this by not only finding great talent, but also working to collate and share the latest industry research and knowledge.

This year one of our Directors, Paul Howarth, has been sharing his knowledge and observations of HR and its impact on business during the COVID-19 pandemic. While COVID has of course been the enduring theme of 2020, Brexit is also an extremely important consideration at the moment, with potentially longer-lasting implications than COVID.

To this end, Paul has recently shared with our clients via email some useful information and insight into the rules and regulations regarding the employment of EU (non-UK) citizens.

Read on to find out more from Paul and his understanding of how Brexit may affect recruitment, both now and in the future. If you have a more complex situation or question that is not covered, or you require more information on, please do not hesitate to contact us or your company legal advisors.


Rules and Regulations


While we have already left the European Union, the Transitional Period doesn’t expire until midnight on 31st December 2020. This means that the rules and regulations regarding the employment of EU (non-UK) citizens is changing. Whether you are in favour of Brexit or not, you need to be aware of how to protect your business and ensure compliance.

So as of 1st January 2021, there is a change to the employment eligibility of different overseas candidates, as well as the evidence and documentation required to support that. This is an overview of these changes:


EU / EEA and Swiss Citizens – Settled Status


  • EU/EEA and Swiss citizens who are living in the UK prior to 1st January 2021 can apply for settled status and they can continue to live and work in the UK.
  • To register, they must register online BEFORE 30th June 2021. After that they cannot apply. 4.2 million EU citizens living in the UK have already applied.
  • You have to be living in the UK for 5 years to gain fully settled status. Once registered and until the 5-year period has been achieved, the individual has ‘Part-Settled’ status which allows them to continue to live and work in the UK until settled status is achieved.
  • A current or potential employer can only check their application status online – so if they have been living in the UK but not registered, they really need to as soon as possible.


Current EU / EEA / Swiss Staff


  • Encourage them to register for settled status immediately if they have not done so.
  • Take a screen shot of the proof of Settled Status application from the government
  • If they have not registered, ensure they have some official document proving their
    stay in the UK – e.g., a utility or council tax bill with their address
  • Make sure you have seen original documents proving original eligibility to work in
    the UK (EU / EEA / Swiss passport) and take a copy and sign and date it.
  • Make sure the documents are filed.


Recruiting EU / EEA / Swiss Staff Going Forward


  • After 1st January 2021, there is no difference in the regulations for employment eligibility of EU Nationals (who have not been in the UK prior to 1st January 2021) and people coming from any other part of the world. They will all need an immigration visa.
  • But, if a candidate is an EU /EEA / Swiss national who has been in the UK prior to this and is registering for Settled Status, they do not need a visa.
  • However, you do need to see the original documentation to confirm their eligibility as with current EU/EEA/Swiss staff, including evidence of their online registration and/or proof they were living in the UK prior to 1/1/2021.


Visas (and recruiting staff post 1st January 2021)


  • As of 1st January 2021 (and already for non-EU/EEA citizens) the UK has a new points-based, skilled worker immigration system.
  • This relates to anyone not already residing in the UK before 1st January 2021.
  • To gain a visa and the right to work, the applicant needs a minimum of 70 points,
    some of which are for the following ‘mandatory’ requirements (which equal a minimum of 50 points):


    1.  A job offer from a Home Office-licensed sponsor (employer)
    2. Be at the required ‘skill ‘set’ level (‘A’ Level or above)
    3.  The role must achieve/exceed the minimum salary of £25,000 or the ‘going
      rate’ for the role
    4. The candidate must speak English
  •  An applicant can also ‘trade’ points, for example having a higher education level (e.g., PhD in science) or be on the ‘shortage occupation list’ which includes roles such as science, pharma, computing, digital, secondary school teachers in maths, science etc.
  • The ‘Shortage Occupation’ list is reviewed annually and completely updated every 3 years.




  • Citizens of the Irish Republic are exempt from the visa controls and due to our historic ties, will effectively enjoy freedom of movement and employment.

Further information can be found on the Government website.

Please note that Howarth Morris is acting in the capacity of a recruitment consultancy and are not professional legal advisors. We advise all clients and candidates to seek their own professional legal advice.