A frontier worker is an EU, EEA or Swiss national, who is economically active in the UK (through employment or self-employment) but resides outside the UK. Under the EEA right of freedom of movement, such nationals are currently free to travel and work in all EEA countries.

However as freedom of movement comes to an end, the UK Government is introducing a Frontier Worker Permit, due to be launched later this year. Those individuals who hold ‘frontier worker status’ by 31 December 2020 will be able to maintain this status, providing they apply for a Frontier Worker Permit by 1 July 2021. Up until this date, they will be able to continue to travel to and work in the UK, based on their national ID card or passport, presented upon entry to the UK. After 1 July 2021, entry to the UK for frontier workers will only be permitted if they hold a Frontier Worker Permit. Applications will be free and can be made from within or outside the UK.

If an individual wishes to begin travelling to and working in the UK as a frontier worker after 1 January 2021 (and they haven’t done so previously), they will have to apply for permission to work in the UK under the new points based immigration system as a skilled worker, subject to meeting the relevant criteria.

This is good news for frequent commuters and their employers, providing certainty that their current working arrangements may continue. However those organisations who regularly rely on this type of working arrangement and will continue to do so going forwards, should consider applying for a sponsor licence to ensure they are prepared for the changes being introduced from 1 January 2021. Please contact us if you would like further information on how we may be able to assist you with a sponsor licence application.

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