Detailed guide: Frontier workers in the UK: rights and status

Guidance Frontier workers in the UK: rights and status Guidance Frontier workers in the UK: rights and status

Guidance for frontier workers who want to continue working in the UK or who wish to begin employment in the UK.

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  1. Frontier working before 1 January 2021
  2. Frontier working from 1 January 2021

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On 1 January 2021 the UK’s points-based immigration system will come into effect, and there are some changes frontier workers need to be aware of.

You’re a frontier worker if you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen and you are employed or self-employed in the UK but live elsewhere.

Irish citizens do not need to do anything to continue working in the UK from 1 January 2021.

Frontier working before 1 January 2021

You’ll be able to keep your frontier worker status if you’re frontier working in the UK by 31 December 2020, but you’ll need to apply for a frontier worker permit.

Irish citizens will not need a frontier worker permit but may apply for one if they wish .

You may also keep your frontier worker status if you’ve previously been a frontier worker and one of the following applies:

  • you’re temporarily unable to work because of an illness or accident
  • you were working in the UK but are now involuntarily unemployed, and are looking for work in the UK
  • you’re in vocational training while involuntarily unemployed
  • you’re 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

Frontier worker permit

On 10 December, the government will launch a frontier worker permit scheme. You’ll be able to apply if you have frontier worker status.

Applications will be free. You’ll be able to apply online from inside or outside the UK.

From 1 July 2021, you’ll need to hold a valid frontier worker permit, as well as your valid passport or national identity card, to enter the UK as a frontier worker.

Until 1 July 2021, you can continue entering the UK as a frontier worker using your valid passport or national identity card, but you’ll be able to apply for the frontier worker permit as soon as the scheme launches.

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’s points-based immigration system.

Published 21 September 2020
Last updated 11 November 2020 + show all updates

  1. Updated information on frontier worker permit scheme.

  2. First published.

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Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.


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