The Government is urging construction firms and sub-contractors should check that employees from the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) have been granted the right to work in the UK.
The notice comes after the “official” closure of the EU Settlement Scheme on 30 June 2021.
Under the initiative, citizens from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein who started living in the UK by 31 December 2020 can apply for permanent settled status, granting them the right to work in Britain.
Samantha Randall, an Associate Solicitor with Palmers, who specialises in employment law, said: “Those who did not apply but remain in the UK may be working illegally.
“Employers who continue to employ EU or EEA nationals without the right to work could be fined, meaning businesses should carry out right to work checks on all existing EU and EEA workers as soon as possible.”
Commenting on the changes, the Government said: “From 1 July 2021, EEA citizens and their family members require immigration status in the UK, in the same way as other foreign nationals. They can no longer rely on an EEA passport or national identity card to prove their right to work.”
While the EU Settlement Scheme “officially” closed in July, the Government said EU and EEA citizens and their family members who apply late will have their rights protected pending the outcome of their application and any appeal.
Commenting on the scheme, Minister for Future Borders and Immigration Kevin Foster said: “Every day thousands of people are being given status through the hugely successful EU Settlement Scheme. We’ve worked hard to ensure the vast majority applied before the 30 June deadline and are now supporting those making late applications.
“Granting temporary protection to those who apply late to the scheme, and to joining family members, demonstrates our continued support to ensure everybody eligible is granted the status they deserve.”
According to the latest statistics, more than five million European workers and their families have now been granted settled status.
The Government has produced a step-by-step video to help employers undertake new right to work checks.
For help and advice with all aspects of employment law, including right to work rules for overseas workers, please get in touch with our expert team.