Operate after Brexit

People, workforce and skills

Employing EU citizens in the UK after Brexit

With the end of free movement between the UK and EU, there are new systems in place for recruiting staff from outside the UK. The environment has also changed for UK professionals, who are now subject to third country requirements in EU member states.

Information for employers in Scotland

Following the UK's exit from the EU, there are considerations for Scottish businesses which employ, or are seeking to recruit, EU citizens based in Scotland.  This section highlights the key things business owners need to consider and points you to external resources and guidance.

TalentScotland helps growing companies attract, recruit, and retain skilled international talent in partnership with Scottish Enterprise. We recommend using this service as the first step for Scottish employers looking to find relevant and easy to understand information on immigration, visa support, right to work checks and sponsorship.

If the specialised skills and experience your company needs are in short supply, or you are struggling to navigate the UK’s immigration system, TalentScotland can help.  You can also gain access to immigration webinars and tutorials to support you to use the immigration system to benefit your business. 

Visit the TalentScotland website for easy to understand information on complex issues, including those brought about by Brexit. 

The UK Immigration System

The UK’s departure from the EU at the end of 2020 saw the end of the free movement of people between the UK and the EU. The UK has introduced a new points-based immigration system - detailed guidance can be found on GOV.UK.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Brexit hub provides resources which are updated as post-Brexit developments occur. Some useful resources include a Brexit FAQ and an employers’ legal guide to post-Brexit immigration.

If you are a skilled worker seeking to come to or stay in the UK to do an eligible job with an approved employer, you should read more about the Skilled Worker visa which has replaced the Tier 2 (general) work visa.

The points-based immigration system treats EU and non-EU citizens equally and anyone coming to the UK to work from 1 January 2021 (who is not British or Irish) must apply for a visa in advance. The Home Office has opened applications for the new skilled worker visa

EU Settlement Scheme and Frontier Worker Permits

The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) was established to enable EU, EEA and Swiss citizens resident in the UK by 31 December 2020, and their family members, to get the immigration status they need to continue to live, work and study in the UK after 30 June 2021.  It also allows certain family members to join EEA and Swiss citizens after 31 December 2020.

The UK Government has published an EU Settlement Toolkit which includes information for employers, applicants and late applicants.

The Scottish specific toolkit published by the Scottish Government provides information for EU citizens who wish to stay in Scotland, as well as their employers.  

Some EEA and Swiss citizens who worked in the UK before 31 December 2020 but who lived outside of the UK may be eligible for Frontier Worker permits instead.

Recognition of Professional Qualifications 

EU citizens working within a regulated profession in the UK will need to have professional qualifications obtained in the EU officially recognised by the relevant UK regulator.

Businesses and individuals selling services must also ensure qualifications are recognised by the appropriate regulator in the UK. Read further information and a list of UK regulated professions on GOV.UK. 

Information for UK citizens in the EU

If you are a UK citizen living in Europe since before 1st January 2021, you can access information on GOV.UK which provides an overview of your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Information for EU citizens coming to the UK

If you are an EU citizen seeking to live and work in Scotland you will need to think about the associated requirements before you do so. Visit the TalentScotland website for more information and relevant signposting.

Got a question about operating after Brexit?

Get in touch with our experts for the latest on the UK's exit from the EU, its impact on Scottish businesses, and how we can help you navigate the changes facing all companies.