UK employers, especially those who hold a Sponsor Licence, must ensure that they comply with prevailing immigration regulations and current Home Office guidance. Requirements change frequently and keeping up to date with new compliance obligations can be difficult.
Changes have recently been made to Legal Right to Work (LRTW) checking requirements and these are summarised below:
- Extension to COVID Concession LRTW Checks until 31 August 2021.
The COVID concession allows employers to check digital documents and carry out a video check instead of an in-person check.
Employers will be expected to revert to in person checks from 1 September 2021. This does not affect an employers’ ability to carry out an online check using a ‘share code’.
- Change to LRTW Guidance – effective 1 July 2021.
The updated guidance which can be found on the Home Office Website and includes changes to:
- the way EEA/ Swiss citizens will prove their right to work in the UK from 1 July 2021.
- the acceptable document list; adding:
- Republic of Ireland passport and passport card;
- A document issued by the Crown Dependencies Jersey, Guernsey, or the Isle of Man, which has been verified as valid by the Home Office Employer Checking Service;
- A frontier worker permit issued under regulation 8 of the Citizens’ Rights (Frontier Workers) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020.
The most significant change to LRTW Checks is in relation to employing EEA/ Swiss nationals post 30 June 2021. They are no longer able to rely on their national passport or ID Card to prove a right to work in the UK instead they will be required to show either: –
- A status under the EU Settlement Scheme such as Settled or Pre-Settled; or
- A visa under the Immigration rules such as a Skilled Worker; or
- A frontier worker permit.
Most EEA/ Swiss citizens will be able to demonstrate their right to work in the UK using the online right to work service by generating a ‘share code’. Individuals who have a visa in their passport will need to present this on or before the first day of employment.
There is no need to retrospectively check EEA/ Swiss citizens employed before 1 July 2021 assuming the LRTW check carried out at the time was compliant.
Employers should update their LRTW handbooks and policies to reflect the changes to the list of acceptable documents for all checks conducted on or after 1 July 2021. Staff who conduct the checks should also be made aware of the changes to ensure that checks are conducted in a compliant manner. The exhaustive list of documents that provide a statutory defence from an illegal working penalty can be found in Annex B on page 36 of the guidance.