Employing European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals

The EEA consists of the European Union (EU) along with Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

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This group consists of the following countries:

Austria, Bulgaria, Belgium, Croatia*, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

Generally citizens of these countries may enter and remain in Scotland and the rest of the UK without restriction and do not require a visa to do so.

As an employer all you need to lawfully employ nationals from these countries is a copy of their passport.

*The only exception to this rule is Croatia whose nationals still have restrictions on their ability to work without restriction.

Employing Swiss nationals

Switzerland is not in the European Union or the European Economic Area. However, the same rights apply to Swiss citizens as to those of EEA states. Therefore you can employ a Swiss national without restriction.

Employing family members of EEA and Swiss nationals

Many people want to bring their family with them to the UK. Family members of citizens of these countries are also entitled to live and work in the UK, whether they are EEA nationals or not. If family member is not an EEA national they will need a family permit to come to the UK.

For example, if a French national has an American or Chinese spouse, their spouse may enter the UK to live with them and will gain the right to work here without restriction. However, the spouse still needs to show documentation confirming their relationship and right to be in the UK.

You should ask to see a residence card issued by the Home Office to confirm their right to work in the UK. A residence card may be contained in a current or expired passport. If it is in an expired passport it remains valid until the expiry date listed on the residence card.