The UK Home Office recently updated its Employer’s guide to right-to-work checks and there are a few clarifications to be aware of.
What is a ‘right-to-work’ check?
Employers must do pre-employment checks on potential new staff to make sure they have a right to live and work in the UK.
If an employer doesn’t, and someone they employ is later found to not have that right, the employer could face heavy penalties.
In summary, since 1 October 2022 there are 3 ways to carry out this check:
- Manually, in-person – this can be done for people of all nationalities. Candidates need to show you one or more of the documents from either of the categories known as List A and List B. These are set out in Annex A of the guidance.
- Using an identity service provider (IDSP) – they’ll use ID validation technology to get evidence of the prospective worker’s identity and check that it’s valid. You can use it for British and Irish citizens who have a valid passport (including Irish passport cards).
- Using the Home Office’s online service – this can only be used on people without British or Irish citizenship.
Following the above procedures correctly should mean you have a statutory excuse and so won’t face any penalties if the person you employ is later found to not have a right to work.
Using an IDSP
The updated guidance says that some IDSPs offer services where they use ID validation technology to support manual checks or checks via the Home Office’s online service.
Using an IDSP for this purpose won’t form part of your statutory excuse so you can’t outsource manual and Home Office online checks to IDSPs completely.
You should continue to complete these checks in line with the right-to-work guidance.
Sponsored workers and students
Annex B of the guidance now provides more information on employing sponsored workers and students.
In addition to the job specified on their certificate of sponsorship, workers on a Skilled Worker visa are allowed to take on a second job, as long as it meets the following conditions:
- it’s either a job on the Shortage Occupation List or a job in the same occupation code as the one they’re sponsored for;
- it’s for no more than 20 hours a week; and
- they continue to work for their sponsor and do the extra work outside of the contracted hours for their sponsored employment.
Sponsored workers won’t need extra sponsorship for work that meets these requirements.
Employers providing second jobs to sponsored workers will need to verify that the work meets these requirements as part of a right-to-work check.
International students who have the right to work are allowed to work full-time outside of academic term times from the day after an academic term ends.
Students should confirm with their education provider what the term end date is and verify this with their employer as part of the right-to-work check.
It’s up to the employer to ensure that the information provided is correct, especially where it differs from the course dates on the education provider’s website.
Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs)
BRPs provide evidence of the holder’s immigration status in the UK. If a person has a BRP, you can check their right to work using the Home Office’s online service.
You may see BRP cards with an expiry date of 31 December 2024, even though the holder has permission to stay in the UK beyond that date.
The update guidance says this isn’t an error but is instead a result of the Home Office’s move to digital by default. The actual expiry date of a person’s immigration permission is on their online profile, which is accessed using their right-to-work share code (a 9-digit code given by the UK government to non-UK nationals to prove their right to work).
eVisa holders with outstanding, in-time applications (for permission to stay in the UK, or an appeal, or Administrative Review (3C leave)) can now prove their right to work through the Home Office’s online service.
Employers no longer need to contact the Employer Checking Service, which would often take several days to process.