Right to Work Checks.

Employers are required to verify the lawful immigration status of job applicants prior to employment. Following an initial check, rechecking is required for individuals who have time-limited permission to work in the UK. 

A failure to perform appropriate checks may result in the employer being liable for a civil penalties, and criminal penalties for hiring an illegal worker can include a jail term of five years and/or an unlimited fine. Performing an appropriate check provides a statutory defence to prosecution for hiring an illegal worker.

The Home Office launched its online Right to Work Checking Service in April 2018. This allows employers to conduct online right-to-work checks on eligible individuals, as an alternative to in-person checks: those with EU, EEA, or Swiss immigration status who can provide a valid share code.

All other right-to-work checks – including for UK and Irish nationals – had to be carried out in person until 30 March 2020, since when, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, it has been open to employers to perform adjusted checks remotely over a video call. However, this option will no longer be available after 30 September 2022. 

From 6 April 2022, employers have been able to make digital identity checks on holders of in-date biometric British and Irish passports and Irish passport cards through an accredited Identity Service Provider (IDSP): a certified identification document validation technology service provider. (Out-of-date British and Irish passports are not permitted for digital checks, but can be accepted as evidence of right to work if they are checked manually.) This option is to remain available going forward.

The Government’s up to date guide on right to work checks is here.

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