If your business employs workers from overseas, it’s crucial to verify that your employees have the legal right to work in the United Kingdom. Failure to do so can expose you to severe penalties, including hefty fines.

Why Conduct Right to Work Checks?

As an employer, conducting proper right-to-work checks is your safeguard against receiving civil penalty notices and associated fines. Beginning on 13 February 2024, the fine for a ‘first offence’ will be £45,000 per illegal worker, or £60,000 if you have a previous offence.

For sponsor licence holders, right to work checks are mandatory and failing to carry out proper checks is a breach of sponsor duties.

Online Right to Work Checks

Employers have been obligated to perform online right-to-work checks on individuals holding a biometric residence permit (BRP) or biometric residence card (BRC) since April 6, 2022. Simply photocopying the individual’s residence document is no longer acceptable. The Government also now routinely issues ‘e-visas’ that can only be accessed online.

This requirement extends to individuals registered under the EU Settlement Scheme, who must also undergo online right-to-work checks.

Your employee (or prospective employee) will need to generate a ‘share code,’ which can be obtained through this website. If the employee does not have a UKVI account (e.g., if they have a partner visa), they must obtain their share code through this website instead. Armed with the share code and the individual’s date of birth, you can conduct an online right-to-work check. Access the online right-to-work site here.

It’s important to note that when conducting an online right-to-work check, you still need to verify that the photograph provided online matches the individual. This verification can be done either in person or through a video call. Be sure to retain evidence of the check by saving the online page as a PDF.

If the worker’s leave to remain (visa) has a time limit, remember that you’ll need to perform a follow-up right-to-work check before their leave expires.

Visa Extensions and the Employer Checking Service

When someone has submitted a visa extension application, but the application is pending, how can you prove their right to work? In this situation, their leave to remain may appear to have expired on paper or digitally, but if they submitted their extension in time, their leave is legally considered ongoing.

This scenario often arises when you are considering a new hire or have an existing employee claiming to have submitted an in-time extension application. In such cases, the Employer Checking Service can be invaluable.

To use the Employer Checking Service, you will need to complete an online form with the individual’s details. If the individual is confirmed to have a right to work, you will receive a Positive Verification Notice, providing you with protection from civil penalties for six months. Learn more about the Employer Checking Service and how to navigate visa extension, here.

How We Can Assist

At Truth Legal, our team of specialist business immigration lawyers can provide you with peace of mind. We will review your current procedures and offer clear advice on how to ensure compliance with UK immigration requirements.

We can advise you on the types of checks you need to conduct, what to look for, and how to maintain comprehensive records of these checks in case of inspection. We can also work with you to create an action plan to help you easily fulfil your responsibilities as a sponsor licence holder.

To find out more, contact us today on 01423 393648 or email enquiries@truthlegal.com.

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