Date updated:

Whilst it is not a legal requirement for organisations to carry out right to work checks, employers have a legal duty to prevent illegal working. Right to work checks are therefore important as they provide employers with a statutory excuse against unlawful employment.

It is important to note that a right to work check should be conducted for all employees and potential employees, irrespective of their nationality. This includes British nationals. Employers should also follow the most up to date guidance when conducting their right to work checks to ensure they maintain a valid statutory excuse.

In light of Brexit, changes around how checks should be conducted for EEA nationals were implemented during 2021. More recently, the Home Office introduced additional updates to the guidance and the changes came into force on 6 April 2022.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic most right to work checks were undertaken manually. Online checks were permitted for a limited number of individuals only, such as those with status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). With organisations moving to remote working during the pandemic, the Home Office introduced temporary adjusted measures which permitted right to work checks to be conducted virtually.

Many organisations in the UK continue to embrace hybrid and remote working and, as of 6 April 2022, the Home Office broadened the scope of digital checks by introducing Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT). IDVT enables employers to check an eligible employee’s right to work electronically using an outsourced provider. As the Home Office move towards digitalisation, on 6 April they also limited the scope of manual right to work checks.

Furthermore, employers who rely on the temporary adjustments to right to work checks implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic should be aware that the measures are due to come to an end on 30 September 2022.

Stone King has recently released a right to work briefing sheet which covers the changes that came into force on 6 April 2022. The briefing sheet assists employers to undertake checks to ensure they have a valid statutory excuse against unlawful employment in line with the most recent guidance. Further information on the briefing sheet can be found here.[LW1] 

If you are concerned about your processes and would like a full audit, or have any specific queries, please contact Julie Moktadir