Following the UK’s exit from the European Union and single market, there are new requirements for EU citizens looking to live and work in the UK. This article sets out information and guidance for businesses.


UK points-based immigration system

From 1 January, anyone coming to the UK to work will need a job offer from a licenced sponsor in advance and will need to meet certain skills and salary criteria.


  • Foreign workers, including EU citizens, applying for a skilled worker visa need to show they have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor to be able to apply.
  • Employers need a sponsor licence to hire most workers from outside the UK.


Sponsor licence

Businesses will usually need a sponsor licence to employ someone to work for you from outside the UK. This includes citizens of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland who arrived in the UK after 31 December 2020.


You will not need a licence to sponsor certain groups, for example:

  • Irish citizens (who continue to have a right to work in the UK)
  • those with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • those with indefinite leave to remain in the UK


The licence you need depends on whether you are making a long-term job offer or recruiting for temporary workers.


Businesses will need to appoint people within the business to manage the sponsorship process. They will be responsible for checking that foreign workers have the necessary skills, qualifications or professional accreditations to do their jobs, and must keep copies of documents showing this.


Sponsoring businesses are also asked to tell UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) if sponsored workers are not complying with the conditions of their visa. A licence may be downgraded, suspended or withdrawn if you do not fulfil these requirements.


Guidance on sponsorship:

Apply online via:


Workers already in the UK

Businesses should check a job applicant’s right to work in the same way as now until 30 June 2021. Until this date job applicants can prove their right to work in the following ways:


  • EU, EEA or Swiss citizens can use their passport or national identity card
  • non-EU, EEA or Swiss citizen family members can use an immigration status document listed in the right to work checks employer guide
  • EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members can use the online right to work checking service


If an applicant uses the online checking service this will generate a share code. You must then use the employers’ online service to check their right to work using this share code.


You have a duty not to discriminate against EU, EEA or Swiss citizens. You cannot require them to show you their status under the EU Settlement Scheme until after 30 June 2021.


EU Settlement Scheme

EU, EEA or Swiss citizens and their family members who lived in the UK before 31 December 2020 need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.


With settled or pre-settled status EU, EEA or Swiss citizens will be able to work in the UK, as well as access other benefits including NHS care and education.