As part of its bid to clamp down on illegal workers, the government has made changes to the way in which migrants can prove their right to work in the UK, which came into force this month…
Right to Work
A reminder to employers that the changes in the way migrants can prove their right to work came into effect on 6 April 2022.
The ‘prevention of illegal working’ system is going to undergo considerable change. The Home Office’s intent to create an immigration system where visa holders, by and large, demonstrate their status via ‘digital’ immigration status – rather than physical documents – and the growth in home working, has necessitated significant changes to how employers carry out right to work checks.
There are two types of right to work checks: an online check and a manual check. The type of check that you are required to carry out as an employer depends on the status of the job applicant. The types of documents which are acceptable as evidence of right to work are contained within List A and List B, detailed in the Employers’ Right to Work Checklist.
- List A has the documents that provide an ongoing right to work, for instance those provided by British nationals or those who have Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.
- List B is split into two groups of documents which provide a temporary right to work:
- List B Group 1 includes the documents providing temporary visa permission which must be checked before the start of employment and again before expiry.
- List B Group 2 includes those individuals who cannot produce their original documents. For instance, they have an outstanding application or appeal with the Home Office.
Within the guidance, Annex F has been added to support employers seeking guidance on what documentation Ukrainian nationals will need to prove their right to work. More on this below.
The recent changes apply to any job applicants who hold either a Biometric Residence Card (BRC), Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) or Frontier Worker Permit (FWP).
The Home Office announced these changes at the end of last year, and this now means that anyone holding the documents mentioned is only able to evidence their right to work using the Home Office online service.
This also means that employers can no longer accept or check a physical BRP, BRC or FWP as valid proof of right to work. This applies even if it shows a later expiry date.
Please note that it is not necessary for you to retrospectively check the status of BRC or BRP holders who you employed up to and including 5 April 2022. For these members of staff, as long as the initial checks were undertaken in line with the guidance that applied at the time the check was made, employers will not be liable to any penalties.
Employment of Ukrainian nationals
In response to the evolving conflict in Ukraine, the Home Office has introduced two visa schemes to support Ukrainian nationals, and their family members, to come to the UK.
Those who are granted a visa under these schemes are able to work, rent a home, and access public services, such as medical treatment and education.
Both schemes are free and do not include salary or language requirements but do have certain conditions which will need to be met.
- Ukraine Family Scheme – this scheme allows both immediate and extended family members of British Nationals and people already settled in the UK to come into the UK.
- Homes for Ukraine Scheme – this second scheme enables Ukrainian Nationals to be sponsored by UK residents.
All Ukrainian nationals arriving under the above schemes should obtain a BRP and employers are urged to clarify the requirements, which differ subject to whether the individual has a valid Ukrainian Passport or not. Any prospective employee who is a Ukrainian national and not applied for permission to stay in the UK, will not have a right to work. This means you should not employ them until this has been regularised.
What are right to work checks?
As an employer you must check that any job applicants have lawful immigration status in the UK before entering into employment. If you do not carry out these checks, you could be liable for a civil penalty.
An online right to work check is required for all BRC, BRP and FWP holders from 6 April 2022, as well as anyone who only holds digital proof of their immigration status in the UK. To carry out these checks you need the applicant’s date of birth and their share code, which they will have obtained online.
Please note that applicants from the UK still need to submit their paper documents to an employer in the usual way.
You can download a full guide to employer’s right to work checks at GOV.UK: An employers guide to right to work checks.
If you would like to discuss this subject further, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.
T: 01296 761288 or contact us here.
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Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited provide a specialised HR service to the care sector, from recruitment through to exit.