Entering the final ‘frontier’ for EU workers post-Brexit – What to know

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European Union (EU) citizens employed or self-employed in the UK but are resident elsewhere are classed as frontier workers, those working in the UK on or before December 31 2020 can also still enter the UK for work.

Martina McAuley, HR Team company director, outlines the details of frontier worker status. Martina said: “Since January 1 2021, most EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who are working in the UK but living elsewhere will need to hold a frontier worker permit to enter the UK as a frontier worker – in addition to a valid passport or national identity card.

“Frontier workers had until June 30, 2021 to apply for a frontier worker permit.

“It is recommended that if a frontier worker has not applied for a permit that they do so immediately.

“Although the application process was to cease on June 30, 2021 applications may still be accepted in exceptional circumstances.”

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Frontier Worker Permit Requirements:

Existing frontier workers who were employed or self-employed in the UK by December 31, 2020, can retain their frontier worker status provided they meet certain conditions. Individuals could be eligible for a frontier worker permit if all following points apply:

  • Are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein.
  • Live outside of the UK.
  • Have worked in the UK by December 31, 2020.
  • Have kept working in the UK at least once every 12 months since they started working here.

Irish nationals can continue working in the UK under the Common Travel Area (CTA), an arrangement between the UK and Ireland, and will not be required to obtain a frontier worker permit. Under the UK’s new points-based immigration system non-UK and non-Irish nationals who wish to begin working as frontier workers since January 1, 2021, must obtain work authorisation.

Previous frontier workers may be able to keep their status if any of the following apply:

  • Unable to work because of an illness or accident.
  • Involuntarily unemployed and looking for work in the UK.
  • Involuntarily unemployed and in vocational training.
  • Unemployed and in vocational training that is related to their previous work.
  • Unable to work because of pregnancy or childbirth.
  • On maternity or paternity leave, they will return to their job or find another job at the end of their leave.

Ms McAuley continued: “The frontier worker permit provides plenty of flexibility within the regulations to cover a whole host of working patterns.

“Employers must be aware which employees are cross-border workers and ensure that they remain compliant with the employment regulations and visas.”

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