Employers are required to check that all employees have the right to work lawfully in the UK. The rules on how to conduct these checks are changing from 1 October 2022, and employers should review their right to work policies and procedures in the light of these changes.
Further changes to right to work checks
During the pandemic, the Home Office introduced a temporary concession to allow employers to conduct right to work checks remotely. This allowed employers to view a scanned copy of the individual's passport or other right to work documents with the individual on a video call. However, this concession will end on 30 September 2022. From 1 October 2022, when conducting manual right to work checks, employers will need to inspect original documents in the presence of the individual or with the individual on a video call. Scanned copies will no longer be sufficient.
In practice, this will primarily affect checks in relation to British and Irish nationals. As of 6 April 2022, employers are required to carry out online checks for all EEA and Swiss nationals and most visa-holders (i.e. anyone with a biometric residence permit, biometric residence card or frontier worker permit). Online checks for these individuals do not require the employer to check physical documents – instead, the employer must check the individual matches the details displayed on the Home Office's online checking service, which can be done by video call.
However, with British and Irish nationals, employers must now choose to conduct either manual checks themselves or appoint a third-party to carry out digital checks on their behalf:
- Manual checks: From 1 October 2022, the employer must view the candidate's original right to work documents (e.g. passport) in the presence of the individual or with the individual on a video call. A scanned document is no longer sufficient.
- Digital checks: As an alternative to manual checks, the employer can appoint a third-party identity service provider (IDSP) from the Home Office's list of certified IDSP providers. The IDSP will conduct the check on the employer's behalf. The employer must then retain a copy of the IDSP's output and satisfy itself that the photo and biographical details (e.g. date of birth) are consistent with the candidate's appearance and details provided by them. In practice, this usually involves meeting with the candidate in person before they start work.
There is no need for employers to carry out retrospective checks where checks have been carried out based on the adjusted COVID-19 rules between 30 March 2020 and 30 September 2022. However, employers should review their right to work checking procedures to ensure they comply with the new rules from 1 October 2022.
If you have any queries, please contact your normal Employment department contact.