Here Are the Changes to the Right to Work Checks From 1st October 2022
From 1 October 2022, the UK Government has ushered in new changes surrounding the Right to Work checks. Below, we will explain precisely what this is.
What are the Right to Work checks?
All employers in the UK must carry out checks to find out whether a job applicant is allowed to work in the UK before they hire them. Every employer has a responsibility to prevent illegal employment.
Your right to work in the UK depends on your immigration status.
You automatically have the right to work in the UK if:
- You are a British or Irish citizen.
- You have pre-settled or settled status from the EU Settlement Scheme, or you have applied and are waiting for a decision.
- You have a family permit from the EU Settlement Scheme.
- You have indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK.
- You have the right of abode in the UK.
You might be able to apply for the right to work in the UK if you don’t have this right.
If you have a student visa, you are only allowed to work a certain number of hours in the UK.
If you have a visitor visa, you usually won’t have the right to work in the UK, or you can work in limited conditions.
It is against the law to work in the UK if you know you are not allowed to; this includes doing types of work you are not allowed to do and working more hours than you are entitled.
What changes have come in place to the Right to Work checks, from 1st October 2022?
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK Government issued new guidance surrounding right-to-work checks. They made the process easier for employers who transitioned to remote working.
From March 2020, employers could carry out right-to-work checks remotely, over video calls. Rather than asking for original documents, employers could ask job applicants and workers to scan or photograph their documents.
This policy came to an end on 30 September 2022.
From 1 October 2022, employers must now carry out right-to-work checks using one of these methods:
- Manually checking the person’s original documents.
- Via the Home Office’s online checking service.
- Via an Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT). This is an identity service to verify identity remotely, without providing physical documents.
How to conduct Right to Work checks
You must complete Right to Work checks before employees commence work, ideally during the interview stage.
You can conduct Right to Work checks online and manually. The process takes one to four weeks.
Right to Work checks online
- The job applicant has to complete a form on the Gov.UK website, which generates a “Right-to-Work” code.
- The employer then goes on the UK website to view a job applicant’s right to work.
- This website tells you the types of work the applicant is allowed to do and how long they can work in the UK for if there is a time limit.
- The employer will need the applicant’s date of birth and their ‘right to work’ share code.
- The website generates a photo of the applicant and confirmation of whether they have the right to work. If applicable, it will provide any conditions and expiry dates.
- The employer must screenshot and retain this information in their HR records, to conduct re-checks.
- If the applicant does not have a share code, check their original documents.
Right to Work checks in person
- Meet the job applicant in person and ask them to bring their original documents.
- The applicant must provide original documents from either List A or List B, which we have explained below.
- Check that the documents are genuine, have not been tampered with, and that the applicant is the rightful holder. Tilt the documents to assess the lighting on the holograms.
- Check that the applicant can carry out the work and whether there are any work restrictions.
- Cross-reference the dates of birth across documents.
- Verify that photographs match the person’s appearance.
- Check that any expiry dates to remain in the UK have not passed.
- Check the reasons for any difference in names across documents, which require supporting evidence (e.g. marriage certificate, deed poll).
- Make copies of these documents and retain them in HR records.
How do you prove you have the right to work in the UK?
The Home Office has listed the acceptable documents that you can use to prove that you have the right to work in the UK. These are categorised into List A and List B.
The following documents are in List A.
List A documents are for people who have a continuous right to work in the UK.
- British or Irish passport
- Documents showing that the person has been granted unlimited leave to enter or remain.
- A current passport to show the person is exempt from immigration control, is allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK, has the right of abode in the UK, or has no time limit on their stay in the UK.
- A current Immigration Status Document indicating that the named person is allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK, or has no time limit on their stay in the UK, together with an official document giving the person’s permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a government agency or a previous employer.
- A birth or adoption certificate issued in the UK, Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or Ireland, together with an official document giving the person’s permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a government agency or a previous employer.
- A certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen, together with an official document giving the person’s permanent National Insurance number and their name.
The following documents are in List B, Group 1.
List B documents are for people who have a temporary right to work in the UK. These documents are time-limited and repeated checks are needed. The time-limited statutory excuse lasts until the expiry date of permission to enter or stay in the UK.
- A current passport showing that the holder is allowed to stay in the UK and is currently allowed to do the work.
- Documents showing that the holder has been granted limited leave to enter or remain.
- A current Immigration Status Document containing a photograph, indicating that the named person may stay in the UK, and is allowed to do the type of work in question, together with an official document giving the person’s permanent National Insurance number and name.
The following documents are in List B Group 2.
The time-limited statutory excuse lasts for six months.
- A document showing that the holder has made an application for leave to enter or remain (known as the EU Settlement Scheme) on or before 30 June 2021, together with a Positive Verification Notice from the Home Office.
- A Certificate of Application showing that the holder has made an application for leave to enter or remain, on or after 1 July 2021, together with a Positive Verification Notice.
- An Application Registration Card stating that the holder is permitted to take the employment, together with a Positive Verification Notice from the Home Office.
- A Positive Verification Notice is issued by the Home Office to the employer, indicating that the person may stay in the UK and is permitted to do the work.
Is a driving licence or expired passport proof of “Right-to-Work”?
No, a driving licence is not acceptable proof for Right-to-Work.
If you are a British or Irish citizen, you can use an expired passport as proof of your right to work in the UK.
But if you are not a British or Irish citizen, an expired passport is not acceptable proof of Right-to-Work in the UK.
What consequences can employers face if they fail to check an employee’s right to work?
If you are found guilty of employing an illegal worker, the Government can issue you with a civil penalty. You could be sent to jail for five years and have to pay an unlimited fine of up to £20,000 per illegal worker. You will have 28 days to pay or object to the decision.
You could be given this civil penalty if you had any reason to believe that the illegal worker did not have leave (permission) to enter or remain in the UK, their leave had expired, they were not allowed to do certain types of work, or that their documents were incorrect or false.
Your business could be named and shamed by Immigration Enforcement. You could also face ramifications such as being disqualified from the board of directors or having your Sponsor Licence taken away.
If you show you made the correct Right to Work checks, you may not have to pay the civil penalty.