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Changes to Right to Work Checks

The penalties for getting Right to Work checks wrong are substantial. Before an employee commences work, whatever its size, all employers need to carry out a check to ensure that individual has the right to work in the UK. Not carrying out this check and employing an illegal worker could lead to reputational damage and a fine of up to £20,000.

The online Right to Work Checking Service (launched in 2018) allowed employers to conduct online Right to Work checks on eligible individuals (EU, EEA, or Swiss immigration status who can provide a valid code). All other Right to Work checks (including for UK and Irish nationals) had to be carried out in person.

During the COVID-19 Pandemic in many cases it was not possible to meet face to face so Right to Work checks could not be carried out in person, due to this the Government brought in a temporary rule change to allow employers to carry out checks remotely using video chat. This proved to be a success and with the new employment environment of long-term remote working an easier system for employers. Of course, there were inherent risks in this method as the employer could not see the document in person, so the risk of fraud was at a greater scale.

Reality HR Ltd has put together very helpful summary of the imminent changes.

Right to Work Checks – what’s changing?

From 1 October 2022, there will only be three main methods of checking an individual’s right to work in the UK – manual in-person, online and using an Identity Service Provider (IDSP).

From October 1st the following changes are being made:

  • Manual in-person checks are mandatory for people with valid British and Irish passports


  • Remote right to work checks (e.g. video call) will no longer be permitted


  • The online checking method should only be used for people who hold a: Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), Biometric Residence Card (BRC) and Frontier Worker Permit and e-visas (for example, EU Settled Status, EU Pre-settled Status)


  • For British and Irish passport holders, you can use an Identity Service Provider (IDSP) if you are unable to carry out manual checks. For example, they work entirely remotely and cannot present their original passport for checking before they start work.


  • The IDSP check enables a worker to upload evidence of their right to work (e.g. a photo of their passport) to an accredited service provider who will then verify the identify and right to work and will provide the employer with a statutory excuse. As an employer, you will not have to see a physical copy of the original document. This service will come with a fee which is determined by the provider. More information on IDSPs can be found on the Gov.uk website.


  • Initial right to work checks must be carried out before employment begins


The changes as summarised by RealityHR above demonstrate that whilst there is an inherent risk to online video chat Right to Work checks, the Government have seen and appreciated the benefits to employers for not carrying out manual checks. Especially where a business is entirely remote. In that respect an IDSP provides that ability to remove the need to manually check the document in person but creates a safer way of carrying out a Right to Work check. This is a further demonstration of the positive changes the Pandemic has brought to the employment landscape in the UK.

 If you have any further queries or would like to book an appointment, please call 01256 320555 or email us at mail@clarkeandson.co.uk.

Alex May

Employment & Litigation Solicitor


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