It has been announced by the Home Office that from 6 April 2022, employers must carry out an online right to work check for those who hold a biometric residence card, biometric residence permit or frontier worker permit.
The Home Office announced this change on 17 December 2021 in a new Appendix E to the Employer right to work checks supporting guidance which can be found here.
What does this mean for employers?
Currently, it is possible for employers to carry out a manual right to work check on biometric residence card and biometric residence permit card holders, as well as an online right to work check.
From 6 April 2022, however, employers must carry out a check for individuals who hold a biometric residence card, biometric residence permit or frontier worker permit using the Home Office’s online right to work check service which can be found here.
As a result, employers will not be able to complete a manual right to work check from 6 April 2022 using physical biometric residence card, biometric residence permit or frontier worker permit.
In order to use the Home Office’s online right to work check service, an employer will need to have the individual’s date of birth and a valid right to work share code that the individual will have generated by accessing the online system for individuals. The share code will only be valid for 30 days.
Retrospective checks for employees where a manual check has been completed on or before 5 April 2022 will not be necessary.
It is important for employers to ensure that they carry out initial right to work checks before the date the employment is due to commence. Any follow-up right to work checks must be in line with the timings set out in the Employer right to work checks supporting guidance which can be found here.
All biometric residence permits which are currently issued will show an expiry date of 31 December 2024. This is the case even if an individual’s immigration permission is due to expire after this date. As a result, employers who are currently carrying out manual right to work checks on these documents will need to ensure they schedule a repeat right to work check at the expiry of the biometric residence permits. This is the case even if the individual’s leave may still be valid. In order to avoid the follow up check before at the end of 2024 (the expiry date on the biometric residence permit), employers can take advantage of the online checking service before 6 April 2022. However, employers should bear in mind that until this becomes mandatory from 6 April 2022, an employee can choose whether to provide a document or a right to work share code.
In terms of individuals with frontier worker status, similar to the EU Settlement Scheme, they are normally issued with a digital status and right to work share code. As a result, a manual check would not be required.
Covid-19 temporary adjusted right to work checks
The temporary adjusted right to work checks, in place as a result of the pandemic, will remain in place until 5 April 2022. This adjusted process allows employers to undertake valid right to work checks ‘remotely’ instead of in person. A further announcement on whether this will be extended is expected before April 2022.