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Right to Work Update: April 2024

As UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) moves towards a fully digital immigration status system, so too must the Right to Work (RTW) rules and checks evolve. UKVI has published a new (and surprisingly easy to use) checklist to ensure employers conduct RTW checks correctly. With the fines for engaging illegal workers now at a staggering £60,000 per illegal worker, the price of forgetting these checks or simply not completing them correctly, could to be too high for employers to survive.

RTW Checks

As ever, employers are required to:

  • obtain evidence of an employee’s right to work
  • check the evidence to ensure the documents are genuine and that the person presenting them is the (prospective) employee, the rightful holder and permitted to do the type of work the employer is offering. The checklist sets out a list of things to review and consider when undertaking this check
  • make a clear copy of each document in a format that cannot be manually altered and retain this for the duration of the employee’s employment and at least two years thereafter. Employer’s must also retain a secure record of the date upon which the RTW check is completed
  • digital Identity Document Validity Technology (IDVT) checks remain permissible for British and Irish passport holders and Irish passport card holders only

Online Checks

As UKVI is now starting to move away from hard copy visas and, instead, from 1 January 2025 only issuing eVisas (digital proof of a person’s immigration status), it is now no longer possible for employers to accept a physical Biometric Residence Card, Biometric Residence Permit or Frontier Worker Permit as proof of an employee’s right to work in the UK. Employers must now conduct online right to work checks in respect of employees that seek to rely on these documents as evidence of their right to work in the UK.

To do this, employers should:

  1. obtain the employee’s Share Code and date of birth, and enter this information into UKVI’s online right to work checking service
  2. check that the online record confirms that the employee named in it is allowed to work in the UK and is allowed to carry out the work in question
  3. satisfy themselves that the photograph on the online right to work check is of the individual presenting themselves for work (i.e. the information provided by the check relates to the individual and they are not an imposter). This can be done in person or by video call
  4. If the employee or prospective employee is a student who has permission to work for a limited number of hours per week during term time whilst studying in the UK, employers must also obtain and retain details of the term and vacation dates of the course that the employee is undertaking
  5. retain evidence of the online right to work check.

If you have any questions of concerns about undertaking these checks, please contact Lynsey Blyth or another member of our Immigration team.