What you need to know from 06 April 2022
On 17 January the Home Office announced that from 6 April 2022 there will be an adjustment in the way employers conduct right to work checks. We’ve covered these changes, as well as the existing responsibilities, for employers below.
What are your current responsibilities?
The current regime is rooted in the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006. This legislation makes it a criminal offence to hire a person who does not have the right to work in the UK. You should also be carrying out right to work checks on all of your new employees whether they are British, settled, or here on a work or dependant visa. Failure to do so risks discriminating against your employees and exposing you to costly tribunal claims.
What is changing?
We have covered these in more detail below, but in brief there are three changes that you need to be aware of:
- You will no longer be able to check the status workers on a standard work or resident permit manually;
- The removal of ‘adjusted’ right to work checks;
- The introduction of a digital checking system for British and Irish citizens.
The removal of manual checks for migrant workers and residents
As we have explained above, the current system gives employers some flexibility when it comes to migrant workers. However, under the new system you will no longer be able to carry out physical or manual checks on these workers.
As part of the Home Office’s long term plan to fully digitise the visa systems, from the 6th April 2022, you will now be required to check migrant workers' status exclusively through the Home Office Employer Checking Service. This online service allows you to check your new employee’s right to work status directly through the Home Office records. In order to make a check you will need to provide the following information about the employee:
- Full name;
- Date of birth;
- Job title;
- Number of hours they will work per week;
- Home address in the UK;
- Home Office reference number or case ID (if they have either)
You must secure your new employee’s permission before providing any of this information to the checking service.
The removal of adjusted right to work checks
During the Covid-19 pandemic the government recognised that conducting in-person right to work checks were impractical, and in some cases, impossible for employers. As a concession the government allowed the following methods as valid checks in place of seeing original documents:
- Checking documents over video calls;
- Allowing the worker to send photocopies, scans or photos of the original documents.
These concessions will remain in place until midnight on 30 September 2022. As long as you conduct the checks before this date, you will not be required to re-check any of your employees once the concessions have been removed.
The introduction of a digital checking system for British and Irish citizens.
The government are also introducing a new digital checking system for British and Irish citizens. This will be separate from the Home Office Employer’s Checking service, as the Home Office does not keep records on the broader UK population.
Instead, a number of certified providers (known as IDSPs) will carry out checks using Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT). In simple terms, this system will allow employers to use IDVT to remotely check and verify that the documents provided by their British and Irish workers are genuine and valid. For those who are continuing to work remotely, it will be a way of preserving the convenience of the adjusted right to work checks while still meeting their statutory obligations.
You can continue to check original documents if you would prefer.