Employers and recruiters are gearing up for changes to how they show someone has the right to work in the UK. Here’s our right to work checklist of the steps to take to comply with evolving government guidelines.
From 1 October 2022, the rules for checking someone’s right to work in the UK are changing. Adjusted right to work checks that enabled hiring managers to check documents remotely over video during the pandemic will be replaced by Identity Document Validation Technology (IDVT). Manual identity checks will still be permitted for applicants from the UK and Ireland, but checking an applicant’s right to work remotely must be done through a Identity Service Provider (IDSP).
The type of check you carry out may depend on your candidate’s nationality or immigration status. Employers that carry out right to work checks correctly, no matter which route, are said to have a “statutory excuse” against liability for a civil penalty for employing a worker illegally. Here is a checklist of tasks.
Manual right to work checks
Check the candidate has the correct documentation
If you’re conducting a manual right to work check, the Home Office requires you to obtain original documents from one of two lists of acceptable evidence: the first is the candidate’s passport, immigration status document, birth or adoption certificate or certificate of naturalisation in the UK; the second refers to documents showing the applicant’s application for leave to remain under immigration rules. The full lists are available on gov.uk.
Verify and make copies of documents
Employers need to check that documents are genuine and that the prospective employee is the person presenting them. You need to check that photographs are consistent across documents and match the person’s appearance, that the documents have not been tampered with, that any difference in names across documents can be explained (for example marriage or divorce), and whether expiry dates for permission to be in the UK have passed. You then need to make copies of those documents in a format that cannot be manually altered. Dates of when copies were made must be retained securely elsewhere.
Digital right to work checks
From 1 October 2022, employers wishing to carry out right to work checks remotely should do so through an IDSP. The government continues to update a list of providers that satisfy “a medium level of confidence” in their use of IDVT. It is not mandatory to use one of these certified IDSPs, but doing so will provide assurance that the check meets relevant scheme guidance and standards. After that the steps are similar to those for a manual check:
Check that the IDVT documents are from the individual
You must ensure that the digital photographs supplied by the candidate are in fact the individual applying for the role, and that their biographical details such as date of birth match.
Retain a record of the right to work check
As with manual right to work checks, you need to retain a clear copy of the output from the IDVT check for the duration of someone’s employment, and for two years after their employment has come to an end.
Online right to work checks
If an applicant is from outside the UK, they may have an immigration status that can be checked online, such as an eVisa, biometric residence card (BRC), biometric residence permit (BRP), or Frontier Work Permit (FWP). You can carry out an online right to work check by using the government’s online service.
Get a share code
To carry out an online right to work check, the employer will need the applicant’s date of birth and a right to work share code, which they can obtain from the government website by inputting their immigration details.
Check the photograph is the individual
An online right to work check should include a photograph of the applicant, so check that this is the individual presenting for the job.
Keep a record of the check
You must retain a clear copy of the response given in the online right to work check and store this securely either electronically or as a hard copy. This must be done for the duration of someone’s employment and for two years afterwards.