On 24 December 2020, the European Union and the United Kingdom reached an agreement in principle on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.. Content on the site is being monitored to reflect this and the changes.

Due to the impact of Brexit, immigration law in the UK has fundamentally changed. A new immigration system was introduced on 1 January 2021 and every EEA national must make an immigration application to prove their right to live and work in the UK. 

What Should Employers Do Now?

Understand that the rights of an Irish passport holder to live and work in the UK will not change. Irish passport holders will not have to make an immigration application and retain the right to live and work in the UK. 

Likewise, the rights of a British passport holder to live and work in Ireland will not change. For further information, click here.



Conduct an immigration audit to identify any impacted EEA national employees. The EEA is comprised of the EU countries, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and although not in the EEA people from Switzerland have the same rights as EEA nationals. 

Whilst the rights of Irish passport holders will not change, every other EEA national will have to make an immigration application to prove their right to live and work in the UK. 


Establish whether the impacted EEA national employee lives in Northern Ireland or Ireland. 

An EEA national living in Northern Ireland will more than likely have to make an application under the EU Settlement Scheme. For further information, click here

An EEA national living in Ireland and working in Northern Ireland will have to consider their immigration options. They may be able to successfully apply for a “Frontier Worker” permit which will provide proof of their right to work in Northern Ireland (without requiring a work visa). 

Employers who have employees in this position should take advice as soon as possible.


Does the impacted employee hold a British or Irish passport? If so, they will not have to make an application under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Irish passport holders will not be impacted by Brexit. They can continue to live and work in the UK and they can continue to travel to and work in the EU (just as they did before Brexit).

Please Note: British passport holders, travelling to countries in the EU (other than the Republic of Ireland) may need a work visa prior to travelling.

British passport holders will not be required to make an immigration application in the Republic of Ireland.


What Should Employers Do To Prepare For The Future? Ask Yourself The Following:

Do you need a UK Sponsor Licence? 

If you intend to recruit EEA nationals who will not be in the UK before 31 December 2020, you may need a UK Sponsor Licence. Employers should take advice on the application process and the compliance rules (e.g. record-keeping) in relation to this licence. Further information can be found  here


Do you need further advice or information on the post Brexit immigration system? 

If so, useful information can be found here.


If you are a cross-border trader who is impacted by this, please contact our team.

Further information on our supports can be found here.