UK Digital Right to Work Checks

16 February 2022

UK employers will now be able to carry out digital right to work checks indefinitely. Digital right to work checks were introduced by the UK Home Office as a temporary measure during the pandemic to facilitate the employment of EU and EEA Nationals.

Back in August 2021, it was announced that the temporary adjustments to right to work checks would be extended until 5 April 2022.

Following months of campaigning, the UK government has agreed to make the temporary measure a permanent feature for employers with UK employees. A new system, Digital Identity Document Validation Technology (IDVT), will be introduced from 6 April 2022 to accommodate this change.

Approximately 7% of the UK workforce is comprised of EU nationals and those workers need to be registered with the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) to be legally employed in the UK.

Although the requirements are designed to ensure EU and EEA workers have a legal right to work in the UK, all employees’ right to work should be established and recorded.

Settled or Pre-Settled Status

The UK Home Office categorises employees into ‘Settled’ and ‘Pre-Settled’ status.

Settled employees are those without any restriction or expiry on their stay in the UK. For example, those with citizenship or indefinite leave to remain.

Employees on a visa with an expiry date, or similar restriction, would be considered to be of ‘Pre-Settled’ status. For these employees, you will need a system in place to record and monitor their ongoing immigration status and visa expiry dates and conduct a right to work check every time their visa comes up for renewal.

Digital Right to Work Checks

With the EUSS, Settled and Pre-Settled status is issued electronically. You will therefore need to use the Home Office online service to check an employee’s status, with their permission.

Employees can log in to the website and generate a code they can share with you. You can then enter the code on the online portal to check the individual’s right to work and download proof as a PDF for your records. It is recommended that companies still conduct a virtual right to work check to ensure the photograph matches that of the individual and details, such as date of birth, are consistent.

It is not yet entirely clear whether – or how – the government plans to accommodate in-person right to work checks from April 2022 onwards.

The documents required to comply with a virtual check vary according to the employee. More information can be found in the Government’s Right to Work Checklist. However, examples of appropriate documentation include:

  • A current passport (and valid visa where relevant)
  • A current Immigration Status Document – an official document with a photograph, showing the employee’s name and National Insurance number
  • A document issued by the Home Office showing they are a family member of an EEA or Swiss citizen and are permitted to stay in the UK indefinitely
  • A current Biometric Residence Permit or Immigration Status Document issued by the Home Office, showing the holder has indefinite leave to remain or the right to work in the UK

If a Pre-Settled employee cannot provide any of the acceptable documents, there is a secondary list which grants temporary compliance; however, follow-up checks will need to be conducted within six months.

If you wish to employ non-settled or migrant workers including those from the EU and EEA, you will need to register as a UK licensed sponsor. You will then be able to grant foreign employees the right to work in the UK, provided they qualify under the new points-based UK immigration system.

How ZEDRA can help

Employers who cannot satisfy the Government’s immigration requirements including performing suitable right to work checks could face substantial fines, so it’s important to follow the Home Office guidance, seeking expert advice where relevant. Contact Tim Baker for more information.

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