Can EU Citizens Work in the UK?

Can EU citizens work in the UK after Brexit?

The UK formally left the European Union on January 31, 2020. More than a year later, many are still unsure about just what’s changed when it comes to working in a post-Brexit world.

So in this post, we’ll explain the rules for EU citizens who want to work in the UK after Brexit.

EU workers can still work in the UK post Brexit, but it’s a bit more complicated.

Can EU citizens work in the UK after Brexit?

Yes they can! But beyond 2021, things are going to get complicated. The rules differ for EU citizens who are current residents and were working in the UK before Brexit and new citizens who arrive post-Brexit. New arrivals from the EU will need to go through the same process as other non-European Migrants.

Find out the rules for different EU citizens below.

Can EU Citizens Work in the UK? – Rules for Current Residents and Workers

If you already have EU nationals on your payroll, then you probably don’t have to worry too much about Brexit.

Any EU citizens who want to stay in the UK post-Brexit have to apply for “settled status”. This allows them to maintain all the rights they had before Britain left the EU. With settled status, EU nationals and their families get all the same rights, at home and at work, as British citizens.

To get settled status, an EU citizen must have been living in the UK for five years or more. However, anyone who had arrived in the UK by 31 December 2020 can still apply for “pre-settled status”.

It’s free to apply for the settlement scheme. There are certain eligibility rules, and the deadline for applying is slightly different depending on your circumstances. In most circumstances, you have until 30 June 2021 to apply.

Head here to learn more about the settlement scheme, and head here to start the application process.

Can EU Citizens Who Arrive in the UK in 2021 Work in the UK?

Brexit means no more freedom of movement between European countries and the UK. Any EU citizen who wants to live and work in the UK from 31 December 2020 onwards must go through the same process as other non-European migrants.

From now on, EU citizens who want to work in the UK need to get a visa in advance. The UK now operates on a points-based immigration system. This includes arrangements for skilled workers who already have job offers, with additional routes for scientists, researchers, international students, graduates, and more.

Head here to learn more about the UK’s new points-based immigration system.

What Does This Mean for Employers?

If you already have EU citizens on your payroll, then so long as they apply for settled status, nothing will change.

But if you want to hire EU nationals to work for you in 2021 or beyond, then it’s going to cost you in both time and money.

You’ll need to “sponsor” potential employees. And for this, you’ll need a visa sponsorship licence. Not all businesses are eligible, and you can lose your licence if you don’t meet your responsibilities as a sponsor. And what are your responsibilities? In short, it’s to ensure that your employees comply with the conditions of their visa.

You can learn more about the visa sponsorship licence. You can also head here to apply for your licence.


There’s a complex and costly process for “sponsoring” EU citizens who wish to work for your company. And once you’re a sponsor, your ongoing responsibilities in monitoring your EU citizen employees will bring further complications.

Many UK employers might therefore conclude that hiring EU citizens post Brexit is more trouble than its worth. But when it comes to employment, your priority should be on finding the perfect person for the role, regardless of their personal circumstances. And if the perfect person for the role happens to be an EU citizen, then surely the additional paperwork and admin is a price worth paying?

Are You Ready for a Post-Brexit World?

The Covid-19 pandemic and the government’s lockdowns essentially coincided with Britain leaving the EU. As such, many perhaps haven’t considered the true implications of Brexit just yet. This is understandable. We’ve all had a lot on our plates this past year!

But it’s important to ensure your business is ready for a post-Brexit world. That’s why we put together this essential business Brexit checklist, to help you prepare for the many new rules and regulations that Brexit will bring.

And speaking of being prepared, there’s no better time to review your business insurance. With the right cover, you can rest assured that your business will be able to weather any storm, either at home or abroad. Get in touch for a free quote on your tailored business insurance policy.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your options please contact our Tapoly team at, call our help line on +44(0)2078460108 or try our chat on our website.