Do I qualify for a frontier worker permit?
With the end of free movement and the introduction of the new UK points based Immigration system immigration solicitors are receiving enquiries about the frontier work permit. In this blog we look at the new frontier work permit scheme.
UK Immigration solicitors
London based OTS Solicitors specialise in immigration law and help individuals and UK employers with their frontier worker permit and work visa queries. For expert advice from the specialist team of immigration solicitors call 0203 959 9123 or contact us here. Appointments are available through video conferencing, Skype or telephone appointment.
Who is a frontier worker?
A frontier worker is also referred to as a cross border worker. Essentially they are a worker who works in the UK but doesn’t live in the UK. With the end of free movement many EU citizens are asking whether they will qualify for a frontier worker permit.
Who qualifies for a frontier worker permit?
You may meet the eligibility criteria for a frontier worker permit if you meet the following criteria:
- You are an EU citizen or you are from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland and
- You don’t live in the UK but by the 31 December 2020 you have worked in the UK and
- You have kept working in the UK at least once every twelve months since you started working in the UK.
If you spent lengthy periods of time in the UK before the 31 December 2020 then you may qualify for pre-settled status or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. It is best to check your eligibility to apply for settled status with immigration solicitors.
What happens if you are an EU citizen who wasn’t living or working in the UK on or before the 31 December 2020?
If you weren’t living or working in the UK on or before the 31 December 2020 then you won't be eligible to apply for a frontier worker permit or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme but you may be able to work in the UK by applying for a visa, such as the skilled worker visa or the intra company transfer visa.
If you are uncertain about whether you meet the eligibility criteria for a frontier worker permit or work visa then it’s best to get expert immigration law advice on your options.
Do you have to be employed to apply for a frontier worker permit?
Frontier worker permits aren’t restricted to those who are employed in the UK. You can also apply for a frontier worker permit if you are self-employed in the UK.
What qualifies as ‘work’ for a frontier worker permit?
The definition of ‘work’ for a frontier worker permit is wide as work includes employed and self-employed work. However, the work must be both genuine and effective. That means more than looking at your smart phone or logging on to your laptop whist on holiday in the UK or going to a one off meeting.
Do I still qualify for a frontier worker permit if I haven’t been able to work in the UK?
There are many reasons why our usual work patterns can be disrupted. The Home Office accepts that your usual twelve month working arrangements can be interrupted by matters such as:
- Inability to work due to pregnancy, childbirth, illness or accident or
- Maternity or paternity leave and you will return to your Employment or find new Employment at the end of maternity or paternity leave or
- redundancy or loss of Employment from your work in the UK resulting in involuntary unEmployment and you’re currently seeking Employment in the UK or
- In vocational training whilst unemployed and the vocational training is related to your former Employment.
If one of the above reasons for absence from the UK is applicable to you then you can claim retained worker or retained self-employed person status and still apply for a frontier worker permit.
Who is classed as not living in the UK for a frontier worker permit?
You only need a frontier worker permit if you are an EU citizen or from the EEA and you were not living in the UK on or before the 31 December 2020 but you were working in the UK. You may be classed as having not lived in the UK if:
- You have been present in the UK for less than 180 days in the twelve months before the frontier worker permit application or
- You went back to your country at least once in the last six months or twice in the last twelve months before making your frontier worker permit application unless exemptions apply.
Frontier worker permits and the right to work and rent
In the UK under the Immigration Rules every person who is seeking Employment or wanting to rent accommodation has to prove that they have a right to work in the UK and a right to rent property. If employers and landlords don’t carry out these checks they are in breach of legislation and could face penalties. The frontier worker permit is evidence of your right to work and to rent property in the UK.
How long does a frontier worker permit last for?
The length of your frontier worker permit will depend on your Employment status. If you are employed then your frontier worker permit will last for five years. If you have retained frontier worker status or you are self-employed then your permit will last for two years.
Can I bring my family with me to the UK on a frontier worker permit?
Family members can't apply for frontier worker permits unless they meet the employed or self-employed criteria. Family members also can't apply for a dependant visa based on your frontier worker permit. If your priority is to be accompanied by your family then immigration solicitors can advise on the best UK entry routes for you and your family, depending on your personal circumstances.
Can I apply to settle in the UK because of my work on a frontier worker permit?
A frontier worker permit doesn’t lead to settlement in the UK. If you are eligible for pre-settled status or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme then this can lead to UK settlement. Alternatively if you apply for a skilled worker visaor some other types of visa under the UK points based Immigration system then these routes can lead to settlement.
If settlement in the UK is a goal then it’s best to take expert immigration law advice before applying for a frontier worker permit so that you are aware of what routes lead to UK settlement, the residence requirements and the options available to you.
What documents do I need to apply for a frontier worker permit?
The documents you need to apply for a frontier worker permit will depend on whether you are employed or self-employed and whether your work has been interrupted over the last twelve months (for example because of childbirth or redundancy).
You will need your valid passport or national identity card as well as other relevant paperwork, depending on your personal circumstances. For example, you may need to supply your contract of Employment or doctor’s note or other evidence of your retained status. If you are unsure of what documents would best support your frontier worker permit application contact our immigration solicitors.
How much does the frontier worker permit cost?
The Home Office has said that there is no Home Office imposed fee to apply for the frontier worker permit. In addition you won't need to pay the Immigration health surcharge if you are eligible to apply for the frontier worker permit. This is a big advantage to the skilled worker visa or other visas where you will have to pay such fees but the big disadvantage, for some, is that the permit won't eventually lead to settlement.
UK Immigration solicitors
OTS Solicitors are based in London and specialise in immigration law . We are experts in helping individuals and UK employers with their frontier worker permit and work visa queries. For advice from the specialist team of immigration solicitors call 0203 959 9123 or contact us here. Appointments are offered by video conferencing, Skype or telephone appointment.