Guidance on the Right to Work process issued by the Home Office

14 Jun 2021 Déarbhla Sloan    Last updated: 14 Jun 2021

The Home Office have issued further information and guidance on the process for employers completing right to work checks on EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens.

With the deadline for applications to the EU Settlement Scheme quickly approaching, new guidance for employers has been released by the Home Office. Employers must check that all job applicants have the right to work in the UK before employing them, to avoid being liable for a civil penalty but from 1 July 2021, employers will no longer be able to accept the passports or ID cards of EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens as valid proof of right to work.

Types of right-to-work checks: Manual check and Online check

The type of check conducted will depend on the status of the individual being employed, and in some circumstances, the individual’s preference.

Online Check

An online right-to-work check is required for individuals who only hold digital proof of their immigration status in the UK. This includes most EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens and will entail a simple check of their digital immigration status by their employer.

To carry out an online right to work check, an employer will need the applicant’s date of birth and their share code, which they will have obtained online. They can then complete the check online by visiting GOV.UK/view-right-to-work.

Manual Check

A manual check can be completed for UK and Irish nationals who can use their passport as proof of right-to-work. Employers will also need to complete a manual check for individuals in the UK who do not hold a digital immigration status.

Guidance for both online and manual right to work checks can be found on GOV.UK/check-job-applicant-right-to-work.

When is a right to work check needed?

A right to work check must be carried out for every individual employed. Employers can face a civil penalty of up to £20,000 for each employed worker who does not have the right to work in the UK and where correct checks were not undertaken.

There is no requirement for employers to undertake a retrospective check on EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens who entered their employment before 1 July 2021.

Employers will maintain a continuous statutory excuse against liability for a civil penalty if the initial checks were undertaken in line with legislation and guidance.   

Updated guidance on how to conduct a right to work check from 1 July 2021 and lists of acceptable documents can be found on GOV.UK.

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