The Home Office is seeking to further digitalise UK Right to Work (‘RTW’) checks and employers will have to adapt to various changes which came into effect on 6 April 2022.
There are two circumstances in which an employer must undertake a RTW check:
1. before an employee commences employment with the employer; and
2. where an existing employee has limited permission to remain in the UK, before such permission expires.
Where an employer fails to undertake appropriate RTW checks, the employer may be liable for either a civil penalty or criminal sanction.
Methods of conducting a RTW check
From 6 April 2022, employers are able to use the following methods to check whether an individual has the RTW in the UK:
1. a manual check
These can continue to be done via video call and without the employer holding original documents until 30 September 2022. However physical Biometric Residence Permits, Biometric Residence Cards and Frontier Worker Permits can no longer be accepted as evidence of a RTW in the UK. Applicants/employees who only have these will need to use the Home Office online RTW check service.
2. the services of an Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT) service provider
Employers can now outsource their RTW checks to an IDVT provider to verify the identity of British and Irish nationals, that identity then giving them the right to work in the UK. The Home Office recommends that employers use a certified provider but the list of certified providers has not yet been published. This option for checking is only available for British and Irish nationals for now and is not mandatory i.e. an employer can continue to do manual checks on such employees if it prefers.
If using an IDVT, employers have to be satisfied that the provider has complied with its obligations, hence the recommendation to use a certified provider.
3. via the Home Office online RTW check website.
Are retrospective checks required?
The changes introduced on 6 April 2022 are not retrospective and only apply to employment which has commenced on or after 6 April 2022. Any valid RTW checks carried out before this date will remain acceptable confirmation of an individual’s RTW in the UK.
Employers will need to ensure relevant staff are informed about the latest changes and make a policy decision about whether or not to use an IDVT provider for British and Irish nationals.
For any advice regarding RTW checks, please contact the Employment Team.