Change to right-to-work checks

As an employer, you need to check that the people you employ have the right to work in the UK. If you don’t, you could be fined up to £20,000 per employee and your reputation will suffer.

During the pandemic, the government introduced digital ways for you to check an employee’s right to work in the UK.

What’s changing?

From 1st of October 2022, there will only be three main methods of checking an individual’s right to work in the UK – online, manual and using an Identity Service Provider (‘IDSP’). The method you use will depend on the immigration status of the individual and the documents they hold.

Immigration status Checking method
Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), Biometric Residence Card (BRC) and Frontier Worker Permit holders Online
Those with e-visas (for example, EU Settled Status, EU Pre-settled Status or those who applied for UK immigration permission using the UK Immigration: ID Check app) Online
Those not eligible for online checks (for example, valid British and Irish passport holders) Manual or using an IDSP

What should you do now?

Consider the percentage of employees who hold various immigration documents and the rate of staff turnover. This will help to decide whether it is worth using an IDSP.Determine how you will conduct manual checks on relevant employees following the end of the temporary Covid-19-related concessions.Create step-by-step guides for those conducting right-to-work checks and ensure whoever is conducting the checks understands when to use each method and what that involves.

Four warnings

  • Even if you use an IDSP, you remain responsible for checking the identity of the employee and retaining the record for the duration of employment plus two years.
  • If you allow the prospective employee to start work before their original documents have been checked, you won’t be able to avail yourself of the statutory excuse to a civil penalty if they’re found to be working illegally.
  • If you carry out a manual right-to-work check and then upload the documents to an HR system later, you may inadvertently record the date you uploaded to the system, rather than the date of the manual check. It would then appear that the right-to-work check was carried out after employment commenced. Write: ‘We made this right to work check on (insert date)’ on the copy documents.
  • Be careful about name changes and different names in the supplied right-to-work documents. There may be perfectly valid reasons for this, such as marriage or divorce, so you should request documents that provide evidence of any name changes or discrepancies.
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