Changes to right to work checks
With changes to right to work checks for non-British nationals taking effect from 6 April 2022, employers will no longer be allowed to carry out manual right to work checks for any non-British nationals that they wish to employ. This will be replaced with digital only checks.
From 6 April it will no longer be possible for employers to conduct manual right to work checks, i.e., by copying original physical documents, for any individuals who hold either a biometric residence permit, a biometric residence card or a frontier worker permit.
These checks will be digital only. Employers will only be able to check the right to work status of any non-British nationals that they wish to employ by using the Home Office’s online right to work checking service.
To use this service, you will need to ask the individual for their date of birth and their right to work share code. The share code is generated by the Home Office’s online system and is valid for 30 days. You cannot access their information and ascertain their right to work status if the individual does not provide this share code to you.
The right to work check must also be conducted before employment starts. And if an individual has limited leave to remain in the UK, a further right to work check must be conducted (before that leave expires).
If you employed a non-British national on or before 5 April 2022 and carried out the correct manual right to work check at the time, you will not be required to carry out a retrospective online check.
If you conduct a manual right to work check for any non-British nationals after the law changes, you will not be able to use the statutory excuse against a civil penalty if it later transpires that an individual does not have the legal right to live and work in the UK.
For British and Irish nationals, The Home Office confirmed that from 6 April 2022 employers will be able to conduct online right to work checks. The temporary digital checking system which was put in place for these individuals during the pandemic will close, with a new online right to work check system being rolled out.
From 6 April 2022, right to work checks for non-British nationals must be conducted online via the Home Office’s right to work checking service. These checks must be conducted before employment commences.
If you do not use this online checking service, or instead conduct a manual right to work check, you do not have a statutory excuse to a civil penalty.