Employers must carry out a right to work check to establish a statutory defence against the imposition of a civil penalty for employing an illegal worker (which can be up to £20,000 per illegal worker). The check must be undertaken on all potential employees regardless of nationality or ethnic origin before the employee starts work.
Temporary digital right to work checks were introduced in March 2020 to allow companies to continue to recruit during covid restrictions. There have been numerous extensions to the end date on these measures, they are now due to end on 30 September 2022.
Until 30 September 2022 the following temporary measures remain in place:
- Checks can be carried out by video calls
- Job applicants and existing workers can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals
- Employers should use the Home Office Employer Checking Service if a prospective or existing employee cannot provide any of the accepted documents
Checks on Non-UK and Irish Citizens
With effect from 6 April 2022, you will no longer be able to accept a physical Biometric Residence Permit or Biometric Residence Card. All biometric card holders will be required to evidence their right to work using the Home Office online service only. You will no longer be able to accept physical cards for the purposes of a right to work check even if it shows a later expiry date. This service is free to employers.
Checks on UK and Irish Citizens
With effect from 1 October 2022, right to work checks on UK and Irish citizens can either be carried out manually or using certified Identity Service Providers (IDSPs).
Employers should consider commercial agreements with Identity Service Providers (IDSPs) carefully as prices will vary, however these services will save admin and training costs. The alternative is to continue to carry out checks manually.
Carrying out checks manually requires someone physically able to view original documents. This person will need to be present either prior to or in the early days of employment and they must be provided with training to ensure they know the requirements of the checks.
What now for employers?
The latest extension has been granted to allow employers the time to prepare for new digital checks or ensure they have the right people trained to conduct manual checks. Decide now your plans for on-boarding employees, ensure you have the right supplier or training in place to continue to on-board people smoothly and avoid potential penalties.
We can help, so call us on 01245 910 500.
Article last updated: 21 March 2022
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