Immigration: Changes To Right To Work Checks From 01 October 2022

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Immigration: Changes To Right To Work Checks From 01 October 2022

Author/Key Contact: Sabina Kauser

All employers, regardless of the size of their establishments, have a responsibility to prevent illegal working. Prior to taking on a new employee, they must conduct right to work checks to establish whether a potential employee has the right to work in the UK and to confirm the conditions and hours under which they are allowed to work.

The penalties

Getting it wrong, by not completing the proper checks and retaining the proper records, could result in organisations being fined up to £20,000 per illegal employee. As well as the financial loss, it can also lead to employers losing their sponsorship licences, losing the right to employ migrant workers with a legitimate right to work in the UK, as well as suffering serious damage to their reputation.

When did the checks come into place?

April 2018 saw the launch of the UKVI’s online Right to Work checking service. Using this service, employers are able to conduct online right to work checks on qualifying individuals (EU, EEA, or Swiss nationals).

Under new rules from 6 April 2022, in the case of foreign workers holding either Biometric residence cards or permits or a frontier worker permit, it was made mandatory for employers to conduct checks using the online right to work checking service. For all other individuals, including UK and Irish nationals, right to work checks had to be conducted in person.

As a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic preventing in-person checks, the UKVI introduced a temporary adjusted procedure, as a short-term measure, to enable employers to conduct right to work checks remotely using video calls. Generally, this process was effective but increased the potential for individuals to utilise fraudulent documents to demonstrate having the right to work. These Covid-adjusted checks came to an end on 30 September 2022.

From 01 October 2022, to reduce the risk of fraudulent documentation being used, but maintain the benefits of a digitalised process, employers are now required to make arrangements to use an Identity Service provider (IDSP) right to work checking system where individuals hold British or Irish passports (or an Irish passport card) or to revert back to face-to-face right to work checks.

What is an IDSP?

An IDSP is a licenced identification document validation technology service provider who performs digital identity checks on behalf of the employer. The verification process provided by an IDSP will validate the identity of the applicant and their documents remotely.

What does this mean for employers?

It is imperative for employers to ensure that all checks are conducted promptly before new recruits are onboarded and to maintain accurate records of the validity of employee’s visa’s, Identity documents, online checks or IDSP results to avoid penalties.  It is vital for employers to conduct regular right to work checks for existing foreign workers and ensure that accurate records are held to avoid falling foul of the law.  

A list of the governments certified IDSP’s along with the full guidance for right to work checks can be found here on the government website.

For advice on right to work checks, or on any immigration issues, please contact our Immigration team.

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