Employing EU nationals – it’s all changed!

Brexit has brought many changes, particularly to how we employ EU nationals, a large section of our population and workforce in the Channel Islands.

The beginning of 2019 saw the launch of the Settlement Scheme for EU nationals already living in the Channel Islands. It required them to register to remain in the Channel Islands after 1 January 2021. There’s still time for anyone who arrived in the Channel Islands before 31 December 2020 to apply for the scheme. But the deadline of 30 June 2021 is looming for those who have not yet applied for settled or pre-settled status.

Employers need to be encouraging any EU nationals they employ to apply by accessing the registration process on the government websites. They will need to have their social security number and passport or national ID number, and expiry date to hand. Those who fail to register will be living in the Channel Islands unlawfully and subject to immigration rules.

So, what does this mean for employers?

There is not much difference for those EU nationals in the Channel Islands before 31 December 2020. For the individuals themselves, they will be granted settled status if they have been living in the UK or the Channel Islands for a total of five years or more. Pre-settled status is granted if they have been living there for less than five years. Once they reach their five-year residency, they can apply for settled status, which allows them to apply for British nationality a year later.

These changes do not affect the individuals housing status in the Channel Islands, which remains the same, and nor does it affect the need for employers to hold the required licences to enable them to be employed.

Employers wishing to employ EU nationals who do not hold settled or pre-settled status after 1 January 2021 will now be subject to immigration rules.


All EU nationals will require a visa to enter the Channel Islands. This rule needs to be applied before they travel, and individuals can complete the application online. They must have a valid work permit to apply for a Visa and have their Visa to enter the Channel Islands.

Work Permit

All EU nationals will require a work permit to work in the Channel Islands. In Jersey, there are two main routes for granting a work permit; skilled workers (work permit granted for up to 3 years) and temporary workers (work permit granted up to 9 months). However, the Government of Jersey recently passed a new migration control policy that proposes the introduction of nine-month, four-year and ten-year work permits, so this is likely to change in the future.

Guernsey already has an established work permit process where employers must apply for a permit. Individuals may be granted a:

  • Short-term employment permit valid for one year and renewable
  • Medium-term employment permit valid for five years and non-renewable, as the holder must then take a recognised break in residence
  • Long-term employment permit valid for eight years, at which time the holder becomes an established resident

These work permits need to be applied for by the employer and are subject to strict criteria. For example, have you attempted to recruit locally? Do you hold the required Business Licence (Registered or Licenced) in Jersey? Does the role qualify under the work permit policy?

To apply for a work permit, employers will need the following information:

  • Personal pages of the applicant’s passport
  • Evidence of their knowledge of the English language
  • A copy of your Business Licence (Jersey)
  • Certificates of the applicant’s qualifications

So, what do I need to do now?

  • Firstly, you must check that any EU nationals that you currently employ have applied for or been granted either pre-settled or settled status and ask for evidence of this
  • If they cannot provide you with evidence of this, they have until 30 June 2021 to apply to the scheme
  • Think about your workforce planning whether you may need to look beyond the Common Travel Area (British and Irish citizens, Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands) and what you will need to do to secure those potential employees
  • Plan for the cost of the required visa and work permits as this could cost up to £360 per worker
  • Give us a call if we can help in any way

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