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In brief

The legislation due to come into effect on 1 July 2021 will change the way employers carry out right to work checks for EEA citizens. The Employers Guidance has been updated to consider the legislation.

Right to work checks for EEA citizens from 1 July 2021

From 1 July 2021, EEA citizens and their family members require immigration status in the UK. They can no longer rely on an EEA passport or national identity card, which only confirms their nationality, to prove their right to work. They will be required to provide evidence of lawful immigration status in the UK, in the same way as other foreign nationals.

Irish citizens continue to have unrestricted access to work in the UK. From 1 July 2021, they can prove their right to work using their Irish passport or Irish passport card, or their Irish birth or adoption certificate together with an official document giving the person’s permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a government agency or a previous employer.

EEA citizens may continue to evidence their right to work using their EEA passport or national identity card before 1 July 2021. Whilst employers can continue to encourage the use of the online check, employers cannot insist that individuals use the online service or discriminate against those who wish to prove their right to work by presenting documents which are detailed within the list of acceptable documents.

As of 1 July, there will be some cohorts of EEA citizens who will not have status under the EUSS. They will evidence their right to work using specified documents if they cannot use the Home Office online system. These are detailed below:

  1. Frontier Worker Permits
  2. Service Provider of Switzerland visas
  3. Outstanding applications to UK EUSS
  4. Outstanding applications to Crown Dependency EUSS
  5. EEA citizens with Indefinite Leave to Enter/Remain
  6. Points-Based System visas

Employers are also not required to carry out retrospective checks on EEA citizens who were employed up to and including 30 June 2021, even in instances where they used their passport or national identity card as proof of their right to work.

Related links

Right to work checks – Employers Guide

Updated code of practice

Further details regarding these changes can be obtained by reaching out to your usual contact in our Global Immigration & Mobility team.  


Tony Haque is a senior associate with over 20 years' experience advising in all areas of UK immigration and nationality work, and related European Union law. He is a member of Baker McKenzie’s Global Labor Employment and Employee Benefits Practice Group, where he advises on related corporate, tax and labor law issues, and leads the Firm's Global Immigration & Mobility department in London. Tony is an appointed member of the Law Society's Immigration Law Committee which provides expert guidance to practitioners and seeks to influence the direction of policy. He is recognized as a leader in his field by all of the main UK legal directories including Chambers & Partners, Legal 500, Legal Experts, Global Counsel 3000 and A Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers.


Richard Mills is a Senior Associate in Baker McKenzie's London office.


Ying Li is a Senior Immigration Specialist in Baker McKenzie London office.


Wendy Mortimer is a Senior Immigration Specialist in Baker McKenzie London office.


Natasha Riley is an Immigration Specialist in Baker McKenzieLondon office.


Tomoko Sasaki is an Immigration Specialist in Baker McKenzieLondon office.

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