Employing workers from the A8 EU member states
Anyone who employs an individual in the UK is required to make sure that the individual is entitled to work in the UK, and is not subject to any immigration control.
Nationals from the European Economic Area are free to live and work in the UK but must produce a document proving their identity. This should take the form of either a passport or national identity card, or a residence card issued by the Home Office Border Agency.
The worker registration scheme
Under regulations introduced in May 2004, most workers from any of the eight EU accession countries (or A8) must register with the Home Office under the Worker Registration Scheme, if they plan to work in the UK for longer than one month. This scheme ends on 1 May 2011.
The A8 countries are: Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia, Slovak Republic, Hungary and the Czech Republic. (There are additional requirements for some Latvian passport holders.)
Once the individual has worked legally in the UK for 12 continuous months they gain full free movement rights, and can apply for a residence permit.
Your responsibilities as an employer
While applications for registration are the responsibility of the individual worker, who is responsible for the £90 cost of application, you must provide the worker with written confirmation of their employment, in order that they may register with the Home Office.
You should take and retain a copy of the individual's completed application form, as evidence that they have applied for registration within a month of commencing work with you.
If the application is approved, the Home Office will send you a copy of the registration certificate, which you should retain. If the application is refused, you must cease to employ the individual.
If you do not hear back regarding an application, you are advised to contact the Worker Registration Team.
Legal and taxation issues
If you do not retain a copy of an individual's completed application form or certificate of registration, and you continue to employ the worker for more than 30 days, you could be found guilty of committing a criminal offence.
If you employ a European Union national, they will often be subject to the same tax and national insurance legislation as a UK employee. Sometimes the employee may be subject to the tax provisions as set out in a double taxation treaty.
For national insurance, the position is set out in regulations that were updated in 2010. These broadly require the worker to pay national insurance in one EU state and only one state. This will usually be the UK, but can be their original state in some limited circumstances.
The new employee should also arrange an interview to receive a national insurance number if the employee does not already have one (such as by having worked in the UK previously).
This is a general guide to an increasingly important area of the PAYE system. It is essential that both the employer and employee comply with these requirements in order to avoid leaving yourself open to criminal proceedings.
Further information on immigration issues is available on the following websites: