There are a number of key changes to right-to-work checks coming into force on 6 April 2022, which we will seek to explain and explore in this blog post.
What are right-to-work checks?
Freedom of movement between the UK and the EU has now ended and the UK has introduced a new immigration system. As an employer, you must check that job applicants have the legal right to work in the UK before they start their employment. The EU Settlement Scheme ended on 30 June 2021 (although applicants may still apply after this date where they have a ‘reasonable excuse’ for making the application late).
A right-to-work check is used by the Home Office to verify that workers have the right to work in the UK. Employers must check that an applicant is allowed to work in the UK before they employ them, or they could face a penalty.
Employers should carry out a compliant check before the employment commences, or could face a penalty. There is no requirement to carry out retrospective checks for staff already employed prior to 1 July 2021.
What is changing on 6th April?
From Wednesday 6th April 2022, the following changes will occur:
Migrants who have a standard work or residence permit can only be checked online, not manually. This applies to people with a biometric residence card, biometric residence permit or frontier worker permit.
Adjusted right-to-work checks will no longer count. These were always intended as a temporary concession to the pandemic but were extended several times as the coronavirus situation dragged on.
In place of the adjusted checks, a new system of digital checks is being introduced as an alternative to manual checks. This still involves people submitting “images of their personal documents” rather than bringing in the original, but using “Identity Document Validation Technology” instead of a scan or copy.
The new digital checks are aimed at British and Irish citizens. Online checks don’t work for non-migrants — i.e. the majority of workers — because they won’t show up in Home Office immigration records. If the adjusted checks had been simply abolished without being replaced, employers would have been back to checking most of their new employees manually. This new digital validation system maintains a remote alternative.
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation, which appears to have been involved in or consulted on digital checks, says the Home Office intends to charge for them: “This could vary from £1.45 to £70 per check”. It doesn’t seem that digital checks will be compulsory, so employers would be able to opt for manual checks if they begrudge the cost. This and other details should be addressed in “changes to legislation” — presumably to further amend the Immigration (Restrictions on https://www.davenportsolicitors.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpEmployment) Order 2007 — before the system is rolled out.
Broadly speaking, from 6 April 2022, right to-work-checks on most migrants will be online (and free) and checks on British or Irish nationals will be manual (and free) or digital (and maybe charged for).
For more information on the changes, view the Home Office guidance papers here.
For more details on the upcoming right to work,or any other immigration law matters, please contact one of our Immigration Law specialists here