From 6 April employers right to work checks will change. Previously, foreign nationals who have a Biometric Residence Card, Biometric Residence Permit or Frontier Worker Permit could use this as evidence of their right to work in the UK either by showing their employer the physical card, or by sharing their status through the Home Office online checking service. From the 6 April 2022, physical cards will no longer be accepted as part of the right to work checking process and checks will have to be done online via the Home Office online checking service.
Changes for British or Irish Passport holders
Previously there was no way for British or Irish nationals to evidence their right to work in the UK via the online checking service. The only way of demonstrating a valid right to work was by handing over physical ID documents to the employer. During the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a concession in place permitting employers to check documents using scanned copies and video calls, but this came to an end on 5 April 2022.
From 6 April 2022, employers can use Identity Document Validation Technology (IDVT) via the services of an online Identity Document Service Provider (IDSP) to complete the digital identity verification element of right to work checks for British and Irish citizens who hold a valid British or Irish passport. This is an optional service only and you may still carry out a manual document-based right to work check for British and Irish passport holders if you wish.
How do I carry out a check using an IDSP?
IDSPs can carry out digital identity verification to a range of standards or levels of confidence. The Home Office recommends that employers only accept checks via an IDSP that satisfies a minimum of a Medium Level of Confidence. A list of certified providers is available here. It is not mandatory for you to use a certified provider; you may use a provider not featured within this list if you are satisfied that they are able to provide the required checks.
We recommend that even if you do use an IDSP you satisfy yourself that the photograph and biographic details on the output from the IDVT check are consistent with the individual presenting themselves for work. You must retain a clear copy of the IDVT identity check output.
Do I need to carry out retrospective checks on my existing employees?
No. Employers do not need to carry out retrospective right to work checks on any existing employees providing they were employed, and adequate right to work checks were carried out, before 6 April 2022.
What do I need to do now?
The responsibility for the checks will remain with the employer and you will need to be satisfied checks are being carried out in accordance with the Home Office’s current guidance. It is really important that employers are aware of these changes to the right to work checks. If you get it wrong, you face a civil penalty of up to £20,000 per person if you employ an illegal worker and have not carried out a correct right to work check. Make sure your HR team or those who deal with right to work checks are aware of the changes and happy they know what can and cannot be accepted as evidence. If you haven’t already done so, we recommend familiarising yourself with the Home Office online right to work checking process to ensure that you are set up to use this.
Find out more
For further information or specific advice on right to work checks please contact the employment team.