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Immigration law specialist Sohan Sidhu, from Ellisons in Bury St Edmunds, explains latest Home Office changes

There have been very important changes introduced by the Home Office regarding Right to Work Checks which must be conducted by employers before employment commences.

Up until 6 April 2022, employers were able to check the right to work of any individual with a Biometric Residence Card, Biometric Residence Permit or a Frontier Worker Permit either manually or online by using the Home Office Employer Checking Service.

Therefore, employers had the option of either viewing the prospective employees original documents and taking a copy of the physical card itself or by carrying out an online Right to Work Check.

Sohan Sidhu, of Ellisons
Sohan Sidhu, of Ellisons

However, from 6 April 2022, employers must carry out an online Right to Work Check on such individuals although it is important to bear in mind that employers are not required to carry out retrospective Right to Work Checks on existing employees if there employment commenced before 6 April 2022 and a valid Right to Work Check had been carried out at that time.

Employers can still continue to check the right to work of British and Irish passport holders manually for example by checking their passport or a birth certificate along with proof of the National Insurance number. It is however, the Government’s stated aim to introduce an online check for holders of British and Irish passports and the Government’s intention is for certified Identity Document Service Providers (IDSP’s) to be able to carry out digital identity verification for those holding British and Irish passports. It is however worth bearing in mind that employers will be charged to use the identity document validation technology.

As no IDSPs have currently been certified, the Home Office has extended the Covid concession which allows employers to review right to work documents using scanned copies of documents but it is important to bear in mind that this concession will not apply to those holding a Biometric Residence Permit or Biometric Residence Card.

Ellisons Logo
Ellisons Logo

Employers continue to be responsible for ensuring that appropriate and valid Right to Work Checks are carried out on all of their employees, irrespective of nationality unless there is an exemption in place. The Home Office have the power to impose a Civil Penalty of up to £20,000.00 per illegal worker, not to mention the reputational damage which the business can also suffer and therefore employers must continue to ensure that they comply with all Right to Work Regulations and do not accidentally fall foul of the ever changing rules.

For advice on this or any other immigration matter, contact Sohan Sidhu by email at sohan.sidhu@ellisonssolicitors.com or by telephone on 01284 763333