From 6 April 2022, employers wishing to employ foreign nationals need to check their right to work in the UK online rather than manually.
To do this, prospective employees need to provide their date of birth and a share code so the employer can check their identity via the government’s online checking service. We look at how employers can obtain a share code, what it is and how to use it.
What is a share code?
Share codes were introduced by the Home Office in July 2021 to allow migrant workers to enter their settlement details online. They show UK employers that job applicants have the right to work in the UK after immigration rules changed when Britain left the EU.
The code is made up of nine alphanumeric characters and to create one, the worker needs one of the following:
- A biometric residence permit number
- A biometric residence card number
- A passport or national identity card.
Who can apply for a share code?
Share codes are a way to access proof that a prospective employee from outside the UK and Ireland is eligible to work in the country.
Due to changes in immigration rules after Brexit, EU nationals had to apply for EU Settled Status before 29 March 2022. They should have an online account with gov.uk where digital proof of their settled status is stored.
Applicants from outside the EU, European Economic Area or Switzerland should also have biometric residence cards or permits, which are stored on the government’s online checking service.
Right to work checks
How long is a share code valid?
A right to work share code is valid for 90 days.
How can I check a right to work share code?
To view an applicant’s right to work in the UK, an employer needs to visit the Employer Checking Service on the government’s website.
What if an applicant does not have a share code?
An employee might not be able to show their online immigration status if they have an outstanding appeal, review or application with the Home Office.
If they arrived in the UK before 1989 they may not have documents to prove their immigration status or right to work.
Employers must also ask the Home Office to check an applicant’s status if their digital or non-digital certificate of application says they must, or if they have an application registration card.