How Brexit Affects Right to Work (RTW) Checks for Umbrella Companies

Brexit has finally happened and the UK left the European Union at the turn of the New Year. As a result, we thought an article on How Brexit Affects Right to Work (RTW) Checks for Umbrella Companies would come in really useful.

Umbrella companies are employers, and like every employer they need to carry out Right to Work checks for all employees they take on. If you are signing up to an umbrella company to get paid for a contract, you need to show Right to Work (RTW) documentation.

With Brexit bringing in changes to UK employment, it’s good to know what type of documentation you need to show your continued right to work in the UK.

What RTW documents did umbrella companies require pre-Brexit?

Umbrella companies are legally required to verify that all employees on their books have the right to work in the UK. You were previously able to prove this by providing:

  • A scan/photograph of a British passport or EU passport (pre-Brexit)
  • Accompanying visas or Biometric Residence Permits

Before Brexit, only those coming to work in the UK from outside the UK and the EEA (European Economic Area*) would need to show a visa permit or BRP. But freedom of movement ended at midnight on 31st December 2020 when the Brexit transition period finished – what does this mean for EEA and Swiss nationals coming to work in the UK?

RTW documents post-Brexit

Workers from outside the EEA and Switzerland can continue to show their visas and BRPs alongside their passport to prove their right to work.

EEA and Swiss citizens should do what they can to get their RTW documents for the UK, but luckily there is a grace period until June 2021. Employers can continue to use EEA and Swiss passports as proof of right to work until 30th June 2021. There is no retrospective requirement for employers (including umbrella companies) to do additional RTW checks as long as they did so correctly before 1st January 2021.

After 30th June, anyone working in the UK from the EEA and Switzerland needs additional RTW documentation alongside their passport. These documents could include:

  • Proof of settlement status, pre-settlement status, or proof of application for settlement
  • A valid work visa or Biometric Residence Permit

Those from the EEA or Switzerland residing in the UK before 31st December 2020 had the option to apply for settlement or pre-settlement status, which shows proof of the right to work.

Workers entering the UK after 1st January 2021

EEA nationals entering the UK after 1st January 2021 don’t have the option of applying for settlement or pre-settlement. Instead, individuals need to apply for a work visa to enter and work in the UK. The Skilled Worker Visa will likely be the most common route to take, whereby the employer sponsors the worker.

If the above applies, you can do the research and application yourself or seek help from an immigration lawyer. However, bear in mind that umbrella companies can’t sponsor employees on work visas. It has to be the company benefitting from the work that sponsors a visa – which will be the end-client in most cases.

Top 10 umbrella companies

If you’re looking for an umbrella company you can trust – look no further than our top 10 umbrella companies. Each one is accredited by the FCSA, and some of them have special offers on at the moment.

* The European Economic Area covers Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, but not Switzerland.

Click here to see our top 10 umbrella companies!

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