Changes to Right to Work Checks


Every employer has an obligation under the Immigration Act to ensure that checks are implemented to ascertain an individual’s right to work in the United Kingdom prior to commencement of employment. These checks must be applied to all prospective employees, regardless of apparent race, origin or citizenship.


The law makes it a criminal offence for an employer to knowingly employ someone, aged 16 or over, who has no right to work in the UK, or no right to do the work the Company is offering. However, the law gives you a statutory defence against conviction for employing illegal workers if the employer has checked, copied and retained on file certain original documents belonging to the individual.

There are two types of right to work checks: an online check and a manual check.  The type of check an employer is required to conduct will depend on the status of the job applicant.

Right to Work Checks – Action

From the 6th April 2022, job applicants who hold a Biometric Residence Card (BRC), Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) or Frontier Worker Permit (FWP) will only be able to evidence their rights to work in the UK using the Home Office online service, and the presentation of a physical document will no longer be acceptable.

The service works on the basis of the individual first viewing their own Home Office right to work record and then generating a 9-character long share code that can be passed on to the employer which, when entered alongside the individual’s date of birth, enables them to access the information.  In the presence of the individual (in person or via live video link), the employer must check that the photograph on the online right to work check is of the individual presenting themselves for work (i.e. the information provided by the check relates to the individual, and they are not an imposter). An employer must retain evidence of the online right to work check. For online checks, this should be the ‘profile’ page confirming the individual’s right to work.

Due to the changes in the way BRC, BRP and FWP holders will now have to prove their right to work, the list of acceptable documents for manual right to work checks set out in two lists (List A and B) have been amended accordingly.

For further guidance on Right to Work Checks, please visit

Fiona Haworth

You can contact Fiona on [email protected]

If you feel that you need guidance or advice on this matter, please call Practical HR on 01702 216573 or email Fiona on the above.


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