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Update: The government have recently announced that the end date for the temporary adjusted checks has now been deferred to 5 April 2022. To find out more information you can visit the GOV.UK website.

Why are right to work checks important?

Right to work checks allow businesses to identify and confirm your status to legally work in the UK. An employer may choose to check your right to work as a contractor to avoid any penalties and debarments from the home office if they were to identify an illegal worker.

Fines for failing to carry out right to work checks and hiring illegal workers can be up to £20,000 per illegal worker, along with the risk of yourself and the employer facing a prison sentence. Any failures to carry out the required right to work checks will be reported back to HMRC and recorded which may affect future employability rights.

What right to work documents will you need to provide?

The home office have stated two lists of documents that will be accepted by an employer when proving your legal right to work in the UK. These can be seen on the GOV.UK website under List A and List B.

UK

Passport, birth certificate + National insurance document or a certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen, together with an official document giving the person’s permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a Government agency or a previous employer.

Channel Islands / Isle of man / Ireland

Passport or birth certificate + National insurance document

European & Swiss

Passport, national ID card, registration Certificate / Document certifying Permanent Residence or permanent residence card

Other nationalities (non-UK/EU/Swiss)

Biometric Immigration Document (Biometric residence permit aka BRP) with indefinite leave, current passport with indefinite leave + National insurance document, current Immigration Status Document + National insurance document, certificate of registration + National insurance document, passport with permission to stay in UK / allowed to do the type of work in question, biometric Immigration Document (BRP) with permission to stay in UK / allowed to do the type of work in question, current Residence Card with a family member of a European or Swiss national with right of residence, Current Immigration Status Document (BRP) with indefinite leave + National insurance document, certificate of application to a European or Swiss family member (< 6 months) + positive verification notice, application Registration Card + positive verification notice, a Positive Verification Notice issued by the Home Office Employer Checking Service to the employer or prospective employer, which indicates that the named person may stay in the UK and is permitted to do the work in question.

For further guidance around acceptable documents that can be provided to prove your right to work in the UK, you can visit the GOV.UK website.

What's the latest update?

Previous guidance issued on 20 April 2021 stated that Right to Work checks from employers will move from virtual to face to face from 17 May 2021, however the home office has recently extended virtual Right to Work checks to be carried out up until 21 June, in line with the planned lifting of all restrictions.

These changes are to replace the temporary adjustments put into place on 30 March 2020, in which the home office announced that Right to Work checks are to be carried out by employers remotely via video call to avoid social contact due to COVID-19.

Employers from 21 June will need to view the physical original documents of an applicant and will no longer be able to accept scanned documents or photographs of documents. Employers will need to check the applicant’s Right to Work online if provided with a share code and where individuals are working remotely, this could mean asking to send over original documents via courier to allow checks to be undertaken whilst the individual is on a video call.

View more around our predictions for June 21 lifting of restrictions here.