Update to Right to Work checks

EEA passports or national identity cards are no longer sufficient evidence of an EEA citizen’s right to work in the UK.

Workers must now prove their immigration status differently.


There exists a legal duty to adhere to legislation on the prevention of illegal working. It is an offence for UK employers to knowingly hire anyone who does not have the right to work in the UK.

The potential sanctions an employer may face if they are found guilty of hiring an illegal worker are in excess of £20,000 per worker. Your business’s details may also be published by Immigration Enforcement.

What are the changes to Right to Work checks?

From 1st July 2021, national identity cards and EEA passports can no longer be used to verify an EEA citizen’s right to work in the UK.

Until 30th June 2021, EEA passports and national identity cards were sufficient evidence to satisfy a Right to Work check for EU workers. Alternatively, those who had been granted a status under the EU Settlement Scheme could prove their status by using the online Right to Work checking service.

However, changes mean new rules apply. For workers who started after 1st July 2021, employers will need to ensure the worker is granted status under EUSS and receive a share code to allow them to carry out a Right to Work check. Workers who are not eligible under the EUSS must provide other evidence to demonstrate their Right to Work status.


Why have the changes to Right to Work checks been introduced?


The changes are a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the past government guidance to work from home whenever possible, many employers were unable to carry out checks in-person.

Hence, a COVID-19 related concession was introduced. This allowed checks to take place on video calls, candidates sending their documents electronically to their employer. This would be married with retrospective checks once the lockdown lifted, however this is no longer the case.

The temporary measures for virtual checks were meant to end on August 31st 2021, in-person checks returning to mandatory status after this date. Yet because of the new right to work rules, virtual checks will now be permitted all the way up until 5th April 2022.


How do the new Right to Work checks affect my business?

Right to Work checks can continue to be carried out over video calls. Workers should send scanned documents via email or use the Employer Checking Service.

It is an offence for employers who do not comply with Right to Work obligations. We encourage all matters on the obligations of the company be taken up with your HR advisor.


For more information and helpful advice see our industry news section, or contact us here.

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