On 17 December 2021, the Home Office announced an important change to the current right to work guidance for employers, under Annex E. The change mandates that from 6 April 2022, employers must carry out an online right to work check for those who hold a Biometric Residence Card (BRC), Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) or Frontier Worker Permit (FWP).
At present, it is also possible for employers to carry out a manual right to work check on many BRC and BRP card holders, as well as an online right to work check. However, it will no longer be possible to conduct manual checks from 6 April 2022. To complete an online right to work check, the visa holder would first need to generate a right to work share code online and share this with their employer. The employer can then use the share code, along with the visa holder’s date of birth, to check the employee’s right to work online. The online status will confirm whether the individual has a right to work and the date their leave expires. This will only apply to right to work checks conducted on or after 6 April 2022 – there is no requirement to complete retrospective checks.
All BRPs currently issued will show an expiry date of no later than 31 December 2024, even where the visa holder’s actual grant of leave is after this date. Therefore, employers currently completing manual right to work checks on these documents, will need to schedule a repeat check at expiry of the BRP, even where the migrant’s leave may still be valid. To avoid unnecessary or repeat right to work checks at the end of 2024, employers may wish to take advantage of the online checking service where possible before 6 April 2022. However, until this becomes mandatory, the employee can continue to choose whether to provide you with a document or a right to work share code.
Employees with frontier worker status, similar to the EU Settlement Scheme, are normally issued with a digital status and right to work share code. Therefore, a manual check would not be required.
It’s important to highlight that the current system for adjusted right to work checks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will remain in place until 5 April 2022. This adjusted process permits employers to undertake valid right to work checks ‘remotely’ instead of in-person. It is expected that a further announcement on whether the current scheme could be extended or made permanent will be made before April 2022. This may include a permanent digital approach to checking the right to work status of British and Irish citizens.