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Brexit and DBS Checks

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The latest on the Brexit news from the UK is that it has been delayed – again – until the UK goes through a General Election campaign for a vote on 12th December. The main group affected by this are European citizens who are living and working in the UK, with another delay to Brexit just adding to the uncertainty.


Brexit Rules and EU DBS Checks

Until the date at which the UK finally leaves the European Union, people from other EU states are free to come and live and work in the UK. The rules about DBS checks apply to the job rather than individual. For example, a nurse or teacher needs an enhanced DBS check wherever they come from in the world. At present, workers from elsewhere in the world apply for DBS checks in exactly the same way as people who are UK citizens. This is unlikely to change after Brexit.


Right To Work Checks

One aspect of pre-employment checking which will change enormously if the UK leave the EU is the rule around right to work. For many years, the government has imposed severe fines on companies who employ illegal workers. Businesses usually ask applicants for jobs to bring their passports with them to prove who they are, and their nationality. Currently, no further checks on right to work need to be done on anyone with a passport from another EU nation. After Brexit, this will change. An EU passport will no longer allow people to work unrestricted in the UK. Some EU workers will still be able to come to the UK to work in the NHS or in other work sectors, but the process for going about all this is still very unclear.


Implications for Employers

After Brexit, employers will have to perform the same immigration checks on EU nationals as they currently do on people from other parts of the world. It will add another layer of checking to the recruitment process which could make things slower for anyone applying for a job.

As far as disclosure checks are concerned, there is unlikely to be a huge impact on the system. This is because if there is a vacancy which requires a DBS check, that check will still be done, whatever the nationality of the applicant. People who are coming to the UK to work usually require some sort of police check before their visa can be granted. There is no point in running police checks through the UK police computer if someone has never lived in the UK, so employers will request a similar check from the local police.



The main implication of Brexit is the uncertainty. Once the picture becomes clear, there may be a sudden influx of applications into the DBS, resulting in a backlog. If you are just starting the DBS process it therefore makes sense to try to get your application underway as soon as possible so that you are ahead of any potential rush. If you are planning to renew a DBS soon, it might be worth getting that underway sooner rather than later.