From 6 April, new changes to UK right to work checks announced by the Home Office will come into force, but what does it mean for employers?
Alison Weatherhead & Sarah Ingles Carlyle
What is the current system for right to work checks for employees who hold biometric residence cards and biometric residence permits?
Employers are able to carry out a manual right to work check for those with biometric residence cards or biometric residence permits, as well as an online check if the employee chooses to generate a share code and provide this to their employer.
What changes to the right to work checks did the Home Office announce?
On 17 December 2021, the Home Office announced an important change to the current right to work guidance for employers. They announced it will no longer be possible to conduct manual checks on biometric residence cards or biometric residence permits from 6 April 2022. From this date, employers will be required to carry out an online right to work check in order to establish a statutory excuse.
How will employers comply with the new changes?
To complete an online right to work check, the visa holder first needs to generate a right to work share code online and share this with their employer.
The employer will then be able to use the share code, along with the visa holder’s date of birth, to check the employee’s right to work online. The online status will then confirm whether the individual has a right to work and the date their leave expires.
This new system will only apply to right to work checks conducted on or after 6 April 2022. There is no requirement to complete retrospective checks.
Is there anything to watch out for about the new checks?
All biometric residence permits currently issued will show an expiry date of no later than 31 December 2024, even where the visa holder’s actual grant of leave is after this date.
Employers currently completing manual right to work checks on these documents must schedule a repeat check at the time the BRP expires, even though the migrant’s leave may still be valid.
To avoid unnecessary or repeat right to work checks at the end of 2024, employers may wish to take advantage of the online checking service, where possible, before 6 April 2022. This will provide the date the migrant’s leave expires.
However, until this becomes mandatory, the employee can continue to choose whether to provide a document or a right to work share code.
Employees with valid status under the Frontier Worker or EU Settlement Schemes are normally issued with a digital status and right to work share code. Therefore, a manual check would not be required.
What about the adjustments made to right to work checks due to the pandemic?
The current system for right to work checks is adjusted as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This adjusted process permits employers to undertake valid right to work checks “remotely” instead of in-person.
These adjustments will remain in place until 5 April 2022. It is expected that further announcements on whether the current scheme could be extended or made permanent will be made before April 2022.
This is expected to include a permanent digital approach to checking the right to work status of British and Irish citizens, for a fee.
Do you have a business, property or legal question or issue that you would like to know more about?
Contact Scottish Grocer and we’ll put it to an expert. Call Matthew Lynas on 0141 567 6074 or email firstname.lastname@example.org