Employees Who Regularly Commute To The UK But Live Elsewhere – What Are The Effects Of Brexit?

06 Nov 2019, 48 mins ago

The Home Office define this type of worker as a frontier worker: an ‘EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who regularly commutes to the UK because they are employed or self-employed here but live elsewhere’. Many companies employ workers in the UK in this way – where the employees simply commute to the UK for a few days a week or a few days a month for work. In light of Brexit, we summarise below the impacts of the UK’s departure from the EU on this type of employment and what action needs to be taken by frontier workers from the EU.

This is a very common arrangement for thousands of workers in the UK and it will need to continue when the UK leaves the EU, in order for EU workers to continue fulfilling their roles to the best of their ability.

Frontier workers do not need to make applications under the EU Settlement Scheme. In fact, they do not need to take any action at the present time and will continue to be able to work in the UK with the same rights as they have now until 31 December 2020 – which is the end of the transition period. If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, frontier workers will need to apply for a ‘frontier work permit’ in order to prove their rights in the UK from 1 January 2021. If there is no deal, frontier workers will need to apply for ‘frontier worker status’, although there is little guidance on this at the present time, with more information expected in the event of a no deal Brexit.

Generic examples of a frontier worker include;

  1. A worker who is employed in the UK but only works in UK for 2 days a week and stays in a hotel whilst in the UK;
  2. A worker who is employed in an EU country but spends time working in the UK each month and who stays in a hotel whilst in the UK;
  3. A worker who is employed in an EU country but spends 3 days per week in the UK and stays in a hotel whilst in the UK.

There are other circumstances where an EU national may be classified as a frontier worker. If you are unsure whether you or an employee qualifies in this category, please contact us to discuss your personal circumstances in further detail.

Right to Work checks

Employers are not obliged to conduct ‘Right to Work’ checks for EU nationals until the end of the transition period. After 31 December 2020, employers should conduct ‘Right to Work’ checks for all EU nationals and, if the worker is a frontier worker, they must hold either a permit or status in this capacity (in line with the above guidance from the Home Office).

Gherson have extensive experience in all aspects of UK immigration regulations relating to employment and the status of EU nationals working in the UK. If you would like any further information or have any queries with respect to your own circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact us.


The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2019