Working in the UK for EU Citizens

Key facts:

  • Settlement Scheme available to EU citizens who were residing in UK before 31 December 2020.
  • New points-based immigration policy for all immigrants wishing to work in the UK after 1 January 2021.
  • Recruiting staff from the EU has changed significantly.

Moving to the UK to work

The following has to be considered when recruiting staff from overseas:

  • EU Settlement Scheme, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their families who moved to the UK during the transition period would be able to apply for pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
  • EU citizens already resident in the UK can apply for settled or pre-settled status to the EU Settlement Scheme. The status the EU citizen gets will depend on when the application is made. An EU citizen will get ‘settled status’ (also known as indefinite leave to remain if:
    • he/she started living in the UK by 31 December 2020; AND
    • lived in the UK for a continuous 5-year period (known as ‘continuous residence’)
  • An EU citizen will get a ‘pre-settled status’ (also known as limited leave to remain, as it only allows to remain in the UK for 5 years and then the application for a settled status could be made), if he/she does not have 5 years’ continuous residence in the UK, but started living in the UK by 31 December 2020.

In both cases, the deadline for applying is 30 June 2021 and it is free to apply.

Irish citizens can continue to live, work and study in the UK with no change.

Points-based immigration

Since 1 January 2021, anyone arriving in the UK to work will need to apply under the new points-based immigration system.

There will be no low-skilled workers route, but skilled workers can apply. They will need to acquire at least 70 points as follows:

  • Have job offer from an approved sponsor (20).
  • Have at least an A-level / RQF3 qualification (20).
  • Speak English (10).
  • Have a salary of £25,600 or above (20).

It will be possible to employ people for roles with salaries between £20,480 and lower than £25,600 but they must make up the requisite number of points from the following characteristics:

  • If the job is in a shortage occupation.
  • If the applicant has a relevant PhD.


  • Employers will need a license and they have to assume sponsorship responsibilities.
  • They have to pay an Immigration Skills Surcharge (estimated £364 – 1,000).
  • There are salary requirements.
  • Migrants pay an Immigration Health Surcharge (estimated £400) and pay for their visa (estimated £600-700).
  • It will take 4-8 weeks before a successful applicant can start working.

To do

Look out for:

What’s next?

Since 1 January 2021, UK employers hiring EU residents will need to become a sponsor of the applicant and fulfil obligations under the UK’s new points-based immigration system, which applies to all nationalities.

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