What is the Frontier Worker Permit?
The Frontier Worker Permit is a recently introduced visa category, initiated in December 2020. This work permit was designed to address the requirements of EU citizens post the conclusion of Free Movement in December 2020. Frontier Workers are those who work in one country and call another home. The freedom of movement within the EU had made this lifestyle quite prevalent. However, following the UK’s departure from the EU and the conclusion of the Brexit transition period, EU citizens no longer have unrestricted movement between the UK and EU countries.
The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement mandates the UK government to safeguard the free movement rights of frontier workers who were working in the UK prior to December 31, 2020. Consequently, the Frontier Worker Permit was established.
Frontier Worker Permits enable individuals from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein to enter the UK for employment purposes, typically valid for 5 years.
Who is Eligible for Frontier Worker Status?
Frontier worker status is exclusive to nationals from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, provided they are primarily residents outside the UK. You meet the primary residence requirement if you have spent less than a total of 180 days in the UK within any 12-month period. If you’ve exceeded 180 days in the UK within a year, you can still be eligible if you’ve returned to your home country at least once every 6 months or twice within the 12-month period.
Applicants for the Frontier Worker Permit Scheme must also meet specific working requirements:
Eligible work encompasses both employed and self-employed work. For your work to be considered eligible, it must be “genuine and effective,” signifying that it must be more substantial than one-off tasks. Notably, eligible work excludes activities like attending interviews, signing contracts, or participating in one-off competitions.
Can I Apply for the Frontier Worker Permit Scheme if I’m Unemployed?
Even if you’ve been unable to work or experienced unemployment in the UK during a 12-month period, you might still be eligible for a Frontier Worker Permit if you’ve retained frontier worker status.
You can maintain your frontier worker status if you’ve not worked for one of the following reasons:
Those involuntarily unemployed and seeking work can retain frontier worker status for up to 6 months if they worked in the UK for less than a year before becoming unemployed. If they worked in the UK for over a year, they can maintain their status as long as they continue actively seeking work, provided they are registered as a jobseeker and can provide evidence of their job search efforts.
How to Obtain Frontier Worker Status
To acquire a Frontier Worker Permit, you must apply online using the form available on the gov.uk website. During the application, you’ll need a valid passport or a national identity card. Additionally, you’ll be required to submit supporting documents, which may vary based on your circumstances, whether employed or self-employed. These documents may include your employment contract, payslips, or copies of invoices for work performed in the UK. You’ll receive guidance regarding the necessary documents during your application.
In addition to completing the application form and submitting supporting documents, you must prove your identity as part of the Frontier Worker Permit application process. You can verify your identity using the UK Immigration: ID Check app, where you’ll need to create an account and scan your identity document.
If you don’t have access to a smartphone or can’t use the app, you may need to attend an appointment to verify your identity. Applicants applying from outside the UK will need to visit a Visa Application Centre for fingerprinting and photographing. If applying within the UK, you’ll need to have your photo taken at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point.
Frontier workers with retained status must also provide evidence that they qualify for retained status. This may include medical certificates for illnesses or copies of job applications if seeking employment.
If your application is successful, you’ll receive a notice confirming approval. Applicants who used the app during their application will receive a digital permit. Those who didn’t use the app will either receive a physical permit if they are in the UK or an email notification with instructions on collecting their permit upon arrival in the UK if they applied from another country.
Is the Frontier Worker Permit Necessary for Working in the UK?
Before applying for a Frontier Worker Permit, it’s essential to explore other available immigration options. When it comes to working in the UK, the Frontier Worker Permit isn’t the sole route for EU and EEA citizens, and you might qualify for alternative routes that offer more advantages. If you have acquired pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you do not need a Frontier Worker Permit to work in the UK, as your immigration status already grants you the right to work.
For those without settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, other UK visa options may be more suitable. The UK operates a points-based immigration system with various work visas, including the Skilled Worker Visa, Temporary Worker Visa, and occupation-based visas. Unlike the Frontier Worker Permit, many of these UK work visas can lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain, making them a better choice for those aiming to make the UK their permanent home.
What Can Frontier Workers Do?
Frontier Worker Permit holders can work in the UK, whether as employed or self-employed individuals, engaging in work that is considered “genuine and effective.” In addition to work, their rights encompass the ability to rent property and access benefits, subject to specific eligibility requirements. Frontier Workers also have access to NHS healthcare and are exempt from the immigration health surcharge.
While family members can join you in the UK, they won’t be included in your permit. Each family member must apply individually for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit.
How Immigration Secure Can Assist You
Navigating the various visa categories and application procedures can be challenging. Immigration Secure offers expert guidance to help you choose the right Workers Visa category and ensure you meet all specific requirements for a successful application. Our services include comprehensive document checks, assistance with application forms, and the provision of a Letter of Representation to strengthen your case.
To initiate the process of obtaining your Temporary Worker Visa, please reach out to us or make an online enquiry. Our team of professionals is here to guide you through the entire application process.
TEMPORARY WORKER VISA (T5)
Frequently Asked Questions
The Frontier Worker Permit is a visa category introduced in December 2020 for individuals who work in the UK but reside in another country. It addresses the post-Brexit requirements for EU citizens and allows them to work in the UK while maintaining their primary residence in another country.
Frontier worker status is for nationals from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein who primarily reside outside the UK. They should have spent less than 180 days in the UK within any 12-month period and meet specific working requirements. Eligible work includes both employed and self-employed work.
Yes, you can still be eligible for a Frontier Worker Permit if you’ve experienced unemployment in the UK for reasons such as illness, pregnancy, or voluntary or involuntary unemployment while seeking work. Requirements vary based on your circumstances.
To acquire a Frontier Worker Permit, apply online using the form on the gov.uk website. You’ll need a valid passport or national identity card and supporting documents. Identity verification can be done using the UK Immigration: ID Check app or through an appointment for fingerprinting and photographing.
The Frontier Worker Permit is one option for EU and EEA citizens working in the UK. If you have pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you do not need it. There are alternative UK work visas that may offer more advantages and a pathway to settlement.
Frontier Worker Permit holders can work in the UK, rent property, access benefits (if eligible), and utilize NHS healthcare. Family members can join them in the UK but must apply individually for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit.