The Home Office’s Right to Work Checking Service gives employers access to up-to-date, real-time information about migrants’ right to work, making it easier for individuals to evidence their rights in the UK.
The Right to Work Checking Service is secure and free to use. It was launched in April 2018, although at the time, employers were still required to request paper documents alongside using the online service. The recent change now allows employers to just use the online service to demonstrate they conducted the necessary right to work checks on migrants without also needing to request paper documents.
The service is voluntary for employers and individuals. Migrants may continue to demonstrate their right to work using either the existing document checking service or the online checking service.
Individuals are required to authorise their current or prospective employer to see information about their immigration status in order to conduct the check and will be able to see exactly what information will be shared.
The online Right to Work Checking Service can be used by non-EEA nationals who hold a Biometric Residence Permit and EEA nationals who have been granted settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
EEA nationals who have not been granted settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme will still need to demonstrate their right to work through the appropriate documents, such as their national passport. Note that the way in which Right to Work Checks are carried out in the future may change – either from 31 December 2020 or 30 June 2021 depending on whether Brexit takes place with a deal or on a ‘no deal’ basis.
If the employer does not carry out appropriate checks or is found guilty of employing someone whom they knew or had ‘reasonable cause to believe’ did not have the right to work in the UK, they may be required to pay a fine (civil penalty) of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker and could be prosecuted and face a prison sentence of 5 years, depending on the seriousness of the matter. As for the migrant themselves, if they are found to be illegal, they could risk being deported if they do not regularise their stay in the UK or voluntarily leave the UK.
Gherson has extensive experience in assisting employers in respect of compliance with Right to Work Checks. Should you wish to discuss your company’s compliance obligations in respect of these checks and the duties of record keeping for sponsor licence holders, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.
Consultant and trainee solicitor in our Corporate Team