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.

Below are some frequently asked questions relating to People for businesses in Ireland and Northern Ireland.


What is the immigration impact of Brexit in Ireland?

British passport holders will not have to make an immigration application in Ireland. They will continue to have the right to travel to, live and work in Ireland without requiring a visa. 

EU passport holders will not have to make an immigration application in Ireland. They will continue to have the right to travel to, live and work in Ireland without requiring a visa. 

After 31 December 2020, non-EU nationals, who are family members of a British passport holder and live in Ireland will not benefit from EU legal rights. 

From that date, non-EEA family members of British citizens that are newly resident in Ireland will apply under a separate preclearance scheme which will be announced “in the near future” and made available on the Immigration Service Delivery website. 

For queries on entitlements during the transition period, contact EU Treaty Rights Division by email at eutreatyrights@justice.ie 

We would encourage you to visit our Guide to People.

What is a EEA National?

EEA (European Economic Area) nationals hold a passport from at least one of the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. Switzerland is neither an EU nor EEA member but is part of the single market – this means Swiss nationals currently have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals. 

What is the EU Settlement Scheme?

The EU Settlement Scheme is a mandatory immigration application which certain EU, EEA or Swiss Citizens must make an application under. To be eligible for the scheme the applicant must be in the UK by 31 December 2020, and an application must be made by 30 June 2021. A successful application will provide the applicant with proof of their right to live and work in the UK. If the application is successful, the applicant will receive either “Settled Status” or “Pre-Settled Status”. Further information about the EU Settlement Scheme can be found here.

What is the Common Travel Area?

The Common Travel Area (CTA) was established in the 1920s to give British and Irish citizens to live and work in the UK and Ireland without making an immigration application. The CTA will not change as a result of Brexit. As such: Irish passport holders do not have to make an immigration application (including applications under the EU Settlement Scheme or for a Frontier Worker Permit) in the UK; and British passport holders do not have to make an immigration application in Ireland. 

What is a Frontier Worker?

A “Frontier Worker” is an EEA National who lives in one state (e.g. Ireland) but works in another state (e.g. the UK). Under the UK rules, a “Frontier Worker” must be: (i) an EEA national; (ii) not “primarily resident” in the UK; and (iii) working in the UK. A person is not “primarily resident” in the UK if they have: (i) been present in the UK for less than 180 days in the 12-month period immediately before 31 December 2020; or (ii) returned (from the UK) to their country of residence at least: (i) once in the six-month period immediately before 31 December 2020; or (ii) twice in the twelve-month period immediately before 31 December 2020. The UK Government has stated that Irish citizens do not need to apply for a Frontier Working Permit, however, EEA nationals who live in Ireland, do not hold an Irish passport and work in Northern Ireland (or elsewhere in the UK) should make an application for a Frontier Worker Permit rather than under the EU Settlement Scheme. For further details, click here

Immigration: What is a points based immigration system?

Under a points-based immigration system points are assigned for specific skills, qualifications, salaries or professions. Visas are then awarded to those who gain enough points.

Immigration: Will EU citizens need a visa to visit the UK?

EU citizens and other non-visa nationals will not require a visa to enter the UK when visiting the UK for up to 6 months. All migrants looking to enter the UK for other reasons (such as work or study) will need to apply for a visa in advance.

EU citizens, along with citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the USA, Singapore and South Korea – with biometric passports – will continue to be able to use automatic eGates to cross the UK border.

Will there be an immigration route for “Low-Skilled” Workers?

There will not be an immigration route specifically for so called “low-skilled” workers.

Immigration: What is the new skilled worker route (including salary requirements)?

The points-based system will include a route for skilled workers who have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor. From January 2021, the job offered will need to be at a required skill level of RQF3 or above (equivalent to A-level). There will also be certain English language requirements. The minimum general salary threshold will be reduced to £25,600. If an applicant will earn less than £25,600 – but no less than £20,480 – they may still be able to apply by ‘trading’ points on specific characteristics against their salary. For example, if they have a job offer in a shortage occupation or have a PhD relevant to the job. Details of how the points system will work are in the policy statement and here. If you’re an employer planning to sponsor skilled migrants from 2021, and are not currently an approved sponsor, you should consider getting approved now.

Visa: Where can I get information about employing someone who requires a visa?

The  official government site provides this information.

Guidance for employers is available on carrying out right to work checks on EU citizens and their family members in the UK, steps include checking a job applicant’s right to work.  Click here for more information.

Visa: How much can a working visa cost?

Employers should however begin to budget for visas and associated costs if you think you will need to hire migrant workers after 31 December 2020. Current visa costs can be found here. Employers should note that the following may be required before obtaining a work visa: 

– The visa fee (for the visa applied for).

– Certificate of Sponsorship.

– Immigration Skills Charge.

– Immigration Health Surcharge. 

– Sponsor Licence fee.

Visa: If I recruit for a position and the person identified does not have a visa what are my obligations?

Under the new immigration system, a person must apply for and successfully obtain a visa before coming to work in the UK. It is a criminal offence to work illegally and facilitate illegal work. You can check a person’s “Right to Work” in the UK in the same way as you currently do until 30 June 2021. Until this date job applicants can prove their right to work in the following ways:– EU, EEA or Swiss citizens can use their passport or national identity card; – non-EU, EEA or Swiss citizen family members can use an immigration status document listed in the right to work checks employer guide; – EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members can use their online right to work checking service; If an applicant uses the online checking service this will generate a share code. You must then use the employers’ online service to check their right to work using this share code. You have a duty not to discriminate against EU, EEA or Swiss citizens. Irish citizens will continue to prove their right to work in the UK as they do now. 

Visa: What can I include in a person specification if the job is urgent and requiring a visa would cause an issue?

A person specification or job description should only include the core details of the position being advertised. Anything relating to permission to work in the UK or visa requirements are generally a HR matter and would likely be included as a condition as part of the selection process. The time it takes to secure a candidate who needs a visa will depend on whether the company recruiting is already a sponsored employer. It normally takes 8 weeks (or 10 days using the priority service) to obtain a sponsor licence and several weeks to organise a visa.