News & Insights

Frontier workers

Frontier workers are EU, EEA or Swiss citizens, who are employed or self-employed in the UK, but live outside the UK and so are not eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme.

Frontier working before 1 January 2021

Frontier workers who are in the UK by 31 December 2020, will be able to retain their status but they must apply for a frontier worker permit.  Irish citizens will not need a frontier work permit but may apply for one if they wish.

Frontier workers may also retain their status if they have previously been a frontier worker and one of the following applies:

  • temporarily unable to work because of an illness or accident
  • were working in the UK but are now involuntarily unemployed, and are looking for work in the UK
  • in vocational training while involuntarily unemployed
  • in vocational training while unemployed, and the training is related to the work you carried out in your previous work
  • you’re temporarily unable to work as a result of pregnancy or childbirth
  • you’re on maternity or paternity leave, and you will return to your previous employment, or find another job, at the end of this period

The frontier work permit scheme has not launched just yet, however, we expect the scheme to become operational in the coming months.  Frontier workers will be able to apply to the scheme if they have frontier worker status.

Applications to the scheme will be free and applicants will be able to apply online from inside or outside the UK.

From 1 July 2021, frontier workers must hold a valid frontier worker permit, as well as a valid passport or national identity card, to enter the UK as a frontier worker.  However, until then, they can continue entering the UK as a frontier worker using a valid passport or national identity card.

Frontier working from 1 January 2021

From 1 January 2021, non-British, non-Irish workers who wish to begin employment in the UK while remaining resident outside the UK will need to apply through the UK Points-based immigration system.  We are still waiting for full details to be published within the immigration rules.

If you have any questions about frontier workers or immigration generally, please contact [email protected].