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Free movement under European law will end in the UK on 31 December 2020. Europeans who began living in the UK by that point will retain the right to work provided they apply for status under the EU Settlement Scheme. They will have until the end of the Grace Period on 30 June 2021 to make this application. By contrast, it is clear from Regulations made in September 2020 that European nationals arriving in the UK after 31 December 2020 will need a visa to be able to work here.

During the first six months of 2021, employers conducting right to work checks on European nationals will be able to continue to accept a valid European passport or national ID card as sufficient proof of right to work in all cases. However, depending on when they arrived in the UK, some of these individuals may not necessarily have an underlying right of residence here, storing up potential legal issues. 

In the attached paper, we consider the legal position of Europeans arriving in the UK and why employers need to protect themselves against inadvertently employing illegal workers.