MP, Caroline Nokes, claimed on Tuesday that employers would be forced to differentiate between EU citizens arriving before and after the UK left the EU next year, as those arriving after would not have the same rights. But, in an email seen by Business Insider, the Home Office confirmed that these checks would not be expected from employers.
A spokesman for the3million, a campaign group for EU citizens in the UK, told Business Insider that it remained “concerned” about the government’s plan to create “two classes of EU citizens with potentially two different sets of rights which might make employers and landlords cautious about long-term commitments.”
“Employers will not be expected to differentiate between resident EU citizens and those arriving after exit,” said the email.
The Home Office said that, at present, employers need to carry out right-to-work checks on EU citizens, as they do on all prospective employees, and said EU citizens will be required to evidence their right to work by showing a passport or national identity card.
The government’s clarification reflects the fact it would be almost impossible for employers to legally distinguish between EU citizens who had the right to work and those who didn’t have the right to work because they had arrived after Brexit.
That is because the vast majority of EU citizens — even those who arrived before Brexit and have the right to remain permanently — would not have had their legal status confirmed by March next year, as the Home Office has barely begun to roll out its “settled status” registration scheme.
Those arriving after in the event of a no-deal would not have the same automatic right to remain, with Caroline Nokes confirming on Tuesday that the Home Office would end free movement if the UK left without a deal, but it would not be the responsibility of employers to check that information.
The Home Office statement said:
“Over the last months the UK Government has been reluctant to provide any detail on what will happen to the citizens’ rights for the 3.6 million EU citizens in case of no deal Brexit,” said the statement.
“It came as a total surprise to us on Tuesday when immigration minister Caroline Nokes announced that Freedom of Movement will end on March 29th 2019 in case of a no-deal Brexit.
“This has the potential of plunging 3.6 million EU citizens directly into the hostile environment by leaving them without any documentation to prove their right to live and work in the UK during the Settled Status application period from March 2019 to June 2021.”