As of 5 April 2022, UK employers will no longer be able to carry out virtual Right to Work Checks except for certain specific cases. Virtual 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. From September onwards, employers will need to perform in-person Right to Work Checks to ensure their EEA and EU employees hold settled or pre-settled status.

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 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 the employee’s visa comes up for renewal.

Online Right to Work Checks

When it is not possible to conduct an in-person Right to Work Check, a document based right to work check can be conducted but with strict conditions. For example, original documentation must be couriered to the individual conducting the check.

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.

Employees can log in to the website and generate a code that 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.

In-Person Right to Work Checks

The documents required to comply with an in-person 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, with a photograph and an official document 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 or Rosie Meadows for more information.