Since January 2019, employers have two options when checking whether an individual has the right to work for them in the UK. Employers can either:
- Check the applicant’s documents in person; or
- Check the applicant’s right to work online.
All employers will be familiar with in person right to work checks; this guide is intended to outline the process for online right to work checks. The system is relatively new and conducted correctly will provide employers with a statutory excuse against a civil penalty in the event that an employee does not have the legal right to work in the UK. It will not be possible to conduct an online check for all employees, as not everyone will have an online immigration status and in this circumstance an in person check will have to be conducted. The online check currently supports individuals who have:-
- A biometric residence permit;
- A biometric residence card; or
- Status issued under the EU Settlement Scheme.
The first step is to ask the individual to share an online code with you to access the service; they should provide you with the ‘share code’ generated by the service. You will need this code together with the individual’s date of birth to conduct the check.
The online right to work checking service can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/view-right-to-work
You should then check that the photograph of the individual is the person presenting themselves to work in the UK. You must only employ the person, or continue to employ an existing employee, if you are conducting a follow-up check, if the online check confirms they have the right to work and are not subject to a condition preventing them from doing the work in question.
If the online right to work check does not confirm that the individual has the right to work in the UK and do the work in question, you will not have established a statutory excuse from this check if you proceed to employ them. If you know or have reasonable cause to believe that they do not have the right to work, and employ them anyway, you risk being found guilty of a criminal offence.
The final, and very important step is to retain evidence of the right to work check on your files. This will be the ‘profile’ page confirming the individual’s right to work. You will have the option to print or save this as a PDF or HTML file. The document should then be stored securely (electronically or in printed form) for the duration of employment and two years afterwards.
Should you have any queries regarding UK Immigration or right to work checks please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss further.