Right to Work Checks have long been a core component of UK employers' duties, with businesses having to meet various obligations to comply with legislation governing the prevention of illegal working. Since their introduction under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act of 2006, Right to Work Check (RTW) procedures have undergone a number of changes.
In particular, the RTW scheme has been subject to many fluctuations over the past two years as a result of the pandemic. Those adjustments have demonstrated that the Home Office can, on occasion, be flexible and allow for modern-day working practices. Over the pandemic the Home Office introduced transitional RTW Checks which allowed for documents to be checked remotely. However, the transitional processes will soon be coming to an end.
What changes are coming?
From 1 October 2022, employers will no longer be able to satisfy the mandatory obligations to undertake RTW Checks on employees by solely viewing documents remotely. Employers will need to ensure that they carry out a RTW Check using one of the following methods:
- By undertaking a manual, in-person, Right to Work Check
- By using the Home Office online checking service
- By using an accredited provider of Identification Documentation Validation Technology (IDVT/IDSPs)
Which method is to be used depends on a variety of factors - the chart below provides details of which of the prescribed methods is the most appropriate.
|Evidence of immigration status provided||Right to Work Check method|
|Holders of Biometric Residence Permits, Biometric Residence Cards or a Frontier Worker Permit||Employers must undertake an online Right to Work Check using the above link whilst conducting the check in-person|
|Those holding digital status or an E-Visa, such as those granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme or those who have been granted visas using the UK immigration ID check App||Employers must carry out an online Right to Work Check using the above link, again whilst doing so in-person|
|Those not eligible for online checks such as British or Irish passport holders, or those with a visa vignette affixed to their passport||Employers must undertake a check using an accredited IDSP provider or conduct a manual, in-person check with original documents|
What does this mean in practice?
Until 30 September 2022, employers may undertake any of the above checks remotely, via a video call, so long as the transitional process is followed.
From 1 October 2022, there will be only two types of RTW Checks that can be undertaken:
- A digital check, either via the Home Office checking service or via an IDSP, depending on the type of immigration status held by the particular employee (at present there are only nine organisations that have been accredited and who appear on the IDSP list)
- An in-person manual check using original documents
What steps should employers take now?
Employers should, if they have not yet done so, undertake a review of all hiring/onboarding procedures and should ensure that all current staff have had the appropriate RTW Checks undertaken on them. From 1 October 2022, note that remote checks cannot be solely followed and one of the above methods must be used.
The increased use of online services and providers of verification and validation of immigration status is part and parcel of the Home Office's stated aim of digitising the UK's borders and the entire UK immigration system.
With current Biometric Residence Permits/Cards being valid until 31 December 2024, the 1 October 2022 changes to RTW Checks and the increased use of electronic methods for applications, notifications and decision-making, it is clear that these are just the initial steps in the government's vision for the entire digitalisation of immigration processes and procedures.
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.