Employers across the UK who rely on the services of EU citizens within their operations need to ensure that they have the right to work in the country at the end of next month, according to HR Caddy.

Applications for the EU Settlement Scheme, which allows EU Citizens living in the UK before 1 January 2021 to apply for indefinite leave to remain and the right to work, ends on 30 June 2021.

If an EU citizen fails to acquire settled or pre-settled status by this date, their right to live and work in the UK will be revoked and employers could face fines if they continue to employ them.

Nicola Callaghan, Managing Director at HR Caddy, said: “The majority of EU citizens who intend to continue living in the UK will have already acquired settled status by now, but the official figures show that there are still potentially thousands of people who haven’t.

“It is an employers’ responsibility to check that the person they employ or hire has the right to work in the UK and so they should support employees with acquiring settled status and conduct checks to make sure every member of staff has the right to work after 30 June 2021.”

HR Caddy has said that businesses hiring anyone from outside the UK, who was not living in the UK by 1 January 2021, must ensure they comply with the new immigration rules.

This will require employers to become a licensed visa sponsor and will often require employees to meet strict criteria under the new points-based system.

“The Home Office has made it clear that employers should take care not to discriminate against EU, EEA or Swiss citizens,” said Nicola. “Going as far as to say that employers cannot demand evidence of their status under the EU Settlement Scheme until after 30 June 2021.

“This creates a challenge for employers, which is why they must undertake a detailed check of their entire workforce in July and take fair and appropriate action if a person no longer has the right to work in the UK.”

Nicola said that in many cases employees will have communicated with employers about their application for settled status, but she added that checks were still needed to avoid fines of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker. If you need advice on right to work checks or have questions about hiring overseas workers, please contact us.