Since the start of the Covid pandemic, the Home Office introduced temporary changes to right to work checks. Essentially, it is permitted to acquire evidence of right to work without the need to obtain the physical documents for inspection. This was welcomed by the sector as it allowed employers to employ new staff remotely without the need to meet physically to check the documents. The temporary changes were to end on 5 April 2022.
The Home Office has now advised that the digital checks will become a permanent feature of right to work checks. The full new guidance is now available from the Home Office at An employer’s guide to right to work checks (publishing.service.gov.uk)
Digital check only for non-UK citizens
Employees or applicants with a Biometric Residence Card (BRC), Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) and Frontier Worker Permit (FWP) will need to demonstrate their right to work via the online service. This also applies to EU citizens with a pre-settled or settled status under the EU settlement scheme. Physical cards are no longer a valid form of proof to establish a statutory excuse.
The online service is available for free to prove right to work status for non-UK citizens and the check will provide an instant result. The system is live and can be used by any current employee or applicant. Those who are here on a BRP, BRC or FWP can obtain a ‘share code’ from the Home Office website, which they subsequently share with their employer. The employer will conduct the right to work check using the share code and the date of birth of the applicant/employee.
It is still the responsibility to establish the identity of the person and to ensure that this matches with the result of the online right to work check. Normally this is done by matching the picture of the result with the person and the name and date of birth with the details in the passport.
Once the check has been conducted and you are satisfied they have the right to work in the UK, you should save a PDF of the check and save this on the employee’s file for record keeping. The online service has an option to save the right to work check as a PDF. Once saved, you should make a note in your diary of the expiry date of the current period of right to work, as you will need to conduct a new check when this has expired.
Retrospective checks will not be required on biometric cardholders who, before 6 April 2022, used their physical card to demonstrate their right to work. If you do conduct a retrospective check and you find that the individual does not have the correct right to work status to be employed at your organisation, you must take the appropriate action. If in doubt, you should contact the Home Office for further advice.
Digital check for UK citizens
It is good practice to check right to work status of all new employees, regardless of their race, name, or religion. This would give you peace of mind that the identity of the person is theirs, but also that they have the right to work in the UK. Furthermore, it avoids potential discrimination claims if, for example, you would only check the id for certain employees for their right to work status.
UK Passports and driving licenses will remain a legitimate way of proving someone’s identity for right to work check purposes. However, the UK Government are introducing a system that would allow for online checks for UK citizens as well. As it is good practice to check everyone’s right to work status (to avoid discriminating), the digital check would allow employers to continue to recruit new employees remotely without the need to attend a physical location for in-person identity checks.
The Home Office is looking into certifying Identity Service Providers (IDSP’s) using Identity Document Validation Technology (IDVT). The Home Office does advise using a certified IDSP, however, the certification process is still in its early stages and is not live yet. More information on this can be found in Annex D (p50) at An employer’s guide to right to work checks (publishing.service.gov.uk).