Home Office issues further guidance on right-to-work checks for EEA nationals during grace period

You will be aware that the grace period for EEA nationals started on 1 January 2021 and ends on 1 July.

The guidance can be found in an updated version of Right to work checks: an employer's guide published on 17 March 2021. This document should be read with the view to reviewing your processes for checking right to work documentation issued to a candidate or colleague by the Home Office. 

With regards to grace period and retrospective right to work checks, note the following:

  • During the grace period Employers are advised that they cannot require individuals to evidence their right to work through being granted status under the EU Settlement by using the Home Office online service. However, employers may invite individuals to confirm their status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
  • Employers are not required, but are allowed, to carry out retrospective right-to-work checks on existing EEA national and EEA family member employees after the grace period. Our previous (let us know if you would like a copy of the previous advice we sent) and continued advice is to carry out retrospective checks, however, in doing so, the Home Office advise that these checks are conducted in a non-discriminatory way in accordance with the Home Office's code of practice on avoiding unlawful discrimination while preventing illegal working.
  • If EEA nationals are unable to provide the required evidence of the right to work during a retrospective check to allow employees to establish a statutory excuse, employers should contact the Employer Checking Service.
  • New guidance on the requirements for right-to-work checks from 1 July 2021 will be published by the Home Office ahead of this date.
  • The Home Office has acknowledged the need for employers to have stability during the grace period and to assist their employees with obtaining the right immigration status to continue to live and work in the UK.

Should you have any queries, please contact Thal or Kirin in the usual way.