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This section is for people coming to work in the UK from within and beyond the European Union. It gives information about your legal rights while you work here.
The TUC has published an online guide with support from the European Commission which is available in 21 different languages: Working in the UK.
The EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status)
The UK government’s EU Settlement Scheme has been put in place following the vote by the UK to leave the European Union for EU, EEA or Swiss citizens who want to continue living, studying and working in the UK with access to the National Health Service after 30 June 2021. The application process is already open. It is free of charge.
Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate
If you work for an agency that is treating you badly and you think it might be breaking the law you can report it to the government office that regulates agencies via the Acas Helpline: 0300 123 1100.
National Minimum Wage enforcement is carried out by the National Minimum Wage enforcement team at HMRC (PDF). The Acas helpline (0300 123 1100) can make a referral to HMRC on your behalf. National Minimum Wage enforcement officers have powers to recover wage arrears and to fine employers that don't pay up.
You can also make an online complaint and ask to be contacted by an enforcement officer.
Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC)
Some agencies (usually the better ones) are members of the REC, which sets standards for its members. If your agency has a REC symbol in its offices or on paperwork, you can complain to the REC if you think it is breaking employment law. Anonymous complaints are not accepted.
The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA)
The GLAA operates a licensing system for agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering and associated packaging and processing. The GLAA also maintains an online public register of licensed providers. There is information about how to report abuse on the GLAA website.
As well as its sector-specific licensing regime covering the sectors listed above, the GLAA has investigatory powers to look into labour abuses. These powers cover the whole economy, not just the sectors covered by the GLAA’s licensing scheme.
The Modern Slavery Act 2015 created a new role in the UK – the independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner – aimed at tackling the serious crime of slavery, including servitude, and forced or compulsory labour and human trafficking.
Reports can be made to the Modern Slavery helpline website or by calling the helpline: 0800 0121 700. There is government advice on how to report slavery and information about other sources of support on the website.
Health and safety
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the official agency that enforces health and safety law. It produces a wide range of free leaflets dealing with specific hazards, as well as information on how to protect vulnerable groups such as homeworkers or pregnant women. To access guidance or register a concern, visit the HSE website. The HSE publishes its core leaflets online in 18 different languages.
The HSE does not enforce all health and safety laws. In many sectors, the correct enforcement body is your local authority. Check the list published by the HSE to find the correct regulator where you work.
See also the TUC guide, Safety & Migrant Workers.
The EASS helpline provides advice and support on concerns about discrimination, harassment and breach of human rights. The helpline number is 0808 800 0082, or you can ask for advice by email, following the link on the website.
The EU's Help and advice for EU nationals and their family website provides information (in all European languages) on living and working around Europe.
Working in the UK
The TUC guide to Working in the UK provides information every worker should know about their rights, such as minimum wage levels, rest breaks and how employment status affects your rights. It is available in 21 languages including Bulgarian, Polish, Romanian, Portuguese and Italian.