Home Office publishes Brexit guidance on frontier worker status

Home Office publishes Brexit guidance on frontier worker status

Home Office publishes Brexit guidance on frontier worker status

The Home Office recently published guidance on the right of frontier workers to work in the UK if the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal.

A frontier worker is an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who regularly commutes to the UK because they are employed or self-employed in the UK but they live in another EU or EEA country or in Switzerland.

If the deal is agreed

  • Free movement for European nationals will continue until 31 December 2020 and frontier workers will be able to continue working in the UK with the same rights as they currently have up to 31 December 2020.
  • European nationals will be able to continue working in the UK as frontier workers after 31 December 2020 if their employment or self-employment in the UK as a frontier worker began by 31 December 2020. However, they will need to apply for a frontier worker permit to prove their right to enter the UK for work after 31 December 2020.  Irish nationals will not need to apply for a frontier work permit.

No-deal Brexit

  • If there is no-deal the Government plans to end free movement as soon as possible, subject to approval by Parliament.  Once free movement ends, as part of transitional arrangements, under current proposals European nationals will be able to come to the UK for up to three months at a time without applying for any immigration status or visa until 31 December 2020. They will automatically be granted leave to enter the UK with the right to work and study. Frontier workers would also be covered on this basis.
  • After 31 December 2020, European nationals will be able to continue working in the UK as frontier workers if their employment or self-employment in the UK as a frontier worker began by the date on which the UK left the EU but they will need to apply for frontier worker status under the new immigration system.  Irish nationals will not need to apply for a frontier worker status.

Comment

The Home Office has stated that more details are to follow on when and how eligible European nationals will be able to apply for a frontier worker permit if the UK leaves the EU with a deal or frontier worker status if the UK leaves without a deal.

For European nationals who live in the EU but who regularly commute to the UK to work, it is helpful for employers and individuals to know that, even if there is a no deal Brexit, EU nationals will be able to continue to come to the UK to work for up to three months at a time during the period up to 31 December 2020. 

However, once more details are published by the government, businesses will need to ensure that any frontier workers are aware of what they need to do in order to be able to continue to work in the UK.

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