Right to Work Checks are one of the key requirements each UK employer must be fully familiar with. Under section 15 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, all employers have a duty to check their employees have the right to work in the UK and to undertake the work in question. Home Office will take action against those who employ illegal workers and do not undertake the correct checks. You can protect yourself by conducting the correct document checks. You must do this check before the relevant employment starts.
The penalties for employing illegal workers are due to increase in 2024. As an example, fines for employing illegal migrants will be increased from the current fine of £15,000 per illegal worker for the first breach to £45,000 per illegal worker.
UPDATE TO THE HOME OFFICE RIGHT TO WORK CHECKS GUIDANCE
Updated Right to Work Checks guidance, changes include removing the requirement for employers to verify a digital Certificate of Application (CoA) with the Home Office Employer Checking Service (ECS) when conducting a right to work online check involving an outstanding EU Settlement Scheme application made on or after 1 July 2021.
The other major update is the removal of reference to Immigration Enforcement 28-day notices in respect of EEA citizens and their non-EEA family members which are no longer in use.
DIGITAL CERTIFICATE OF APPLICATION
Most individuals with an outstanding valid application made to the EUSS have been issued with a digital Certificate of Application (CoA). In this instance, you should check with the individual and ask them to provide you with a share code. This means you can check their right to work immediately via the online service and do not need to contact the ECS. The online service will provide confirmation of their right to work and advise when a follow-up check is required.
Previously, where the individual had a digital CoA to evidence a valid application made to the EUSS on or after 1 July 2021, the online service would direct the employer to verify this via the ECS. As of 17 October 2023, you will no longer be directed to verify such a check with the ECS.
If EUSS applicants have not been issued a digital version and are unable to provide you with a share code, you should contact the ECS. You must make a copy of the 'non-digital' CoA and retain this copy, together with a PVN from the ECS. In doing so, you will have a statutory excuse for six months from the date stated on the PVN.
REMOVAL OF REFERENCE TO IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT 28-DAY NOTICES
The new Right to Work Checks guidance removes reference to Immigration Enforcement 28-day notices in respect of EEA citizens and their non-EEA family members, as those notices are no longer in use.
A 28-day notice for EUSS used to warn an EEA citizen or their family member that they may lose access to services in the UK and be required to leave the UK, including by administrative removal action, and should take immediate steps to secure their ongoing right to remain.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.