EU Exit: Changes to right to work checks from 1 July 2021

News article

From 1 July 2021 the process for employers completing right to work checks on EU,EEA and Swiss citizens will change

Right to work checks – changes from 1 July 2021

Employers must check that all job applicants have the right to work in the UK before employing them, to avoid being liable for a civil penalty. From 1 July 2021, employers will no longer be able to accept the passports or ID cards of EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens as valid proof of right to work.

There are two types of right-to-work checks: a manual check and an online check. The type of check conducted will depend on the status of the individual being employed, and in some circumstances, the individual’s preference.

Online right to work check

An online right-to-work check is required for individuals who only hold digital proof of their immigration status in the UK. This includes most EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens and will entail a simple check of their digital immigration status by their employer.

To carry out an online right to work check, an employer will need the applicant’s date of birth and their share code, which they will have obtained online. Employers can then complete the check online by viewing a job applicant’s right to work details.

Manual right to work check

A manual check can be completed for UK and Irish nationals who can use their passport as proof of right-to-work. Employers will also need to complete a manual check for individuals in the UK who do not hold a digital immigration status.

For guidance on both online and manual right to work checks, see checking a job applicant’s right to work.

A right to work check must be carried out for every individual employed. Employers can face a civil penalty of up to £20,000 for each employed illegal worker who does not have the right to work in the UK and where correct checks were not undertaken.

There is no requirement for employers to undertake a retrospective check on EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens who entered their employment before 1 July 2021.

Employers will maintain a continuous statutory excuse against liability for a civil penalty if the initial checks were undertaken in line with legislation and guidance.

See checking a job applicant’s right to work for updated guidance on how to conduct a right to work check from 1 July 2021 and lists of acceptable documents. This includes additions of the following documents:

  • Irish passport or passport card
  • Frontier Worker Permit
  • Documents issued by the Crown Dependencies EU Settlement Schemes, when verified by the relevant Home Office checking service.
  • Certificate of Application or document issued by the UK, Jersey or Guernsey EU Settlement Schemes, confirming an application made by the 30 June deadline, when verified by the relevant Home Office checking service.

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First published 11 June 2021