Employer’s Right to Work Checks

  • Posted

Until 5 April, right to work checks could be conducted online, via the Home Office immigration database, manually, by verifying physical ID documents in the presence of the document holder (employee) and virtually, by verifying a scan or photo of the ID during a video call with the document holder. The facility to conduct checks virtually, which was introduced during the pandemic and due to end on the 6 April, has been extended until 30 September 2022.

Since 6 April, it is necessary to always proceed to online checks when onboarding or checking the right to work status of employees holding the following documents:

  • Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) cards issued to individuals holding a visa of six months or more;
  • Biometric Residence Cards (BRC) – issued to non-EEA family members of an EEA citizens;
  • Frontier Worker Permits (FWP)

However, employers will still be permitted to conduct manual checks for workers who do not hold BRPs, BRCs, FWPs or eVisas; for example, British or Irish nationals relying on their passport for the right to work check (because it is not currently possible for the employer to conduct an online check on their status).

With regard to British and Irish nationals, it will be possible to proceed to right to work checks through a new digital validation service provided by certified Identity Service Providers. This service can be useful for companies relying on remote work or with a high volume of HR activity.

Where correct right to work checks are performed, employers enjoy a statutory excuse against illegal working penalties, if the employee is found not to have permission to work.

Employers undertaking manual and/or virtual checks after 6 April will not be provided with a statutory excuse, unless it is not currently possible to conduct an online check (i.e. for British and Irish nationals).