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The present situation
Currently, employers can carry out either a manual or an online right to work check on Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), Biometric Residence Card (BRC) or Frontier Worker Permit (FWP) holders.
Such checks are carried out in order to ensure that the employer is providing work to an individual who legally has the right to work in the UK.
From 6 April 2022, all checks on such holders must be conducted using the government’s online right to work checking service only.
This change is part of the Home Office’s intention to completely digitalise the immigration system.
How this works
To conduct this online right to work check, the individual firstly needs to generate an online “share code” to share with their employer. This code can then be used to check the individual’s right to work online. The employer is responsible for conducting their own check using the employer page on gov.uk. The employer cannot rely on the individual providing information from the migrant part of the online right to work checking service. The individual’s online profile will confirm whether they have a right to work and the date their leave expires. There will also be a photograph attached to the profile that the employer will need to satisfy themselves that it is of the individual (in-person meeting or video call required).
NB A copy of the response must be retained by the employer for the duration of the individual’s employment and for two years afterwards.
This change does not apply retrospectively
There is only a requirement to conduct such right to work checks on BRP, BRC and FWP card holders who use their physical card to evidence their right to work on or after April 2022.
Digitalisation is generally a good thing. However, this move adds a layer of complexity for employers as insisting that the checking of a physical card is no longer acceptable, arguably establishes an extra administrative test that is reliant on oftentimes unreliable technology.
From the employer’s perspective, it is crucial to note that failure to carry out proper checks on an individual’s right to work could result in an employer being fined up to £20,000 per worker.
This article has been produced for general information purposes and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor. Please contact our Employment & Immigration team at Cleaver Fulton Rankin for further advice or information.