Temporary changes that were made on 30 March 2020 remain in place only until 20 June 2021. There will be an update to right to work checks from 21 June 2021.
Employers must check their employees have the right to work in the UK and ensure their documents are valid.
There are different procedures for checking the immigration status of EU, EEA or Swiss citizens and non-EEA citizens.
Non-EU, EEA or Swiss citizen family members can use an immigration status document listed in the right to work checks employer guide.
On 30th March 2020 right to work checks were temporarily adjusted due to COVID-19
- Checks can be carried out over video calls
- Job applicants and existing workers can send scanned documents or photos of documents for checks using email or a mobile app
- The date when the right to work check has been conducted must be marked as “adjusted check undertaken due to COVID-19”
- If none of the accepted documents can be provided employers must use the Employer Checking Service.
Follow-up checks are required for those whose right to work is time limited.
What is the latest update to right to work checks?
From 21 June 2021 temporary adjustments are ending and employers must conduct right to work checks as per the published guidance
- You can no longer accept scanned copies or photos of original documents
- Employers must be in possession of original documents when carrying out checks
- Alternatively, you can use the online right to work checking service, in which case you will not need to see or check the individual’s physical documents
- The check can be carried out via video call
- Permission in the form of a share code is required from the employee to view their details.
Retrospective checks on those who had a COVID-19 adjusted check between 30 March 2020 and 20 June 2021 are no longer required.
What if my business is operating remotely?
Manual checks do require an employer to physically check the documents even if the business is operating remotely.
How to check original documents?
- Ask to see the applicant’s original documents, such as a current valid passport and biometric residence permit
- Check that the documents are valid with the applicant present
- The worker does not need to be physically present, but they will need to send their original documents for their employer to verify their right to work
- If the worker is not physically present their identity can be verified over a live video call
- Make and keep copies of the documents and record the date you made the check.
Employers may not rely on inspecting the document via a live video link or by checking a faxed or scanned copy of the document.
What should I check?
- The documents are genuine, original and unchanged and belong to the person who has given them to you
- The dates for the applicant’s right to work in the UK have not expired
- Photos are the same across all documents and look like the applicant
- Dates of birth are the same across all documents
- The applicant has permission to do the type of work you are offering (incl. any limit on the number of hours they can work)
- For students ask for evidence of their study and vacation times
- If 2 documents give different names, the applicant must provide supporting documents showing why they are different, such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree.
Employers are protected against civil penalties if the checks undertaken during this period were done as prescribed by the employer’s guidance on right to work checks or as set out in the COVID-19 adjusted checks.
Checks before 30 June 2021
EEA and Swiss nationals starting a job in the UK in the first half of 2021 must be able to evidence their right to work by presenting a copy of their passport or national ID card to their employer.
EEA or Swiss citizens who arrived in the UK by 31 December 2020 and close family members who are joining them after this date must apply to the EUSS before 30 June 2021.
Irish citizens don’t need to apply for permission to enter or remain in the UK, including a visa, any form of residence permit or employment permit. They can continue to prove their right to work in the UK as they do now.
Checks from 1 July 2021
EU, EEA or Swiss nationals who have submitted their application to the EUSS can start work before their application has been decided, provided it has been submitted before the deadline and their employer receives confirmation from the Home Office that the application is valid.
Individuals who failed to submit their application by the deadline can lose their existing rights in the UK, including the right to live, work rent and access free healthcare.
EU, EEA and Swiss nationals who used the UK Immigration: ID Check App to apply for a visa under the points-based system will have online access to their immigration status. Those who applied using the online forms on the gov.uk website instead, will be issued with a biometric residence permit.
Since right to work checks must be carried out based on the law in force at the time employment commenced, no retrospective checks are required on employees who have started to work for the organisation prior to 1 July 2021.
Should the employee later turn out to be an illegal worker the employer will not face any illegal working penalties, provided the right to work check has been carried out as outlined in the guidance.
Individuals who don’t have a visa, a frontier worker permit or a status under the EUSS or entered the UK as a tourist will not have the right to work in the UK.
Controls are in place to limit access to work, accommodation and public services for those who haven’t obtained the correct permission to live and work in the UK.