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Online Right to Work Checks - What Does It Mean For Employers?

on Friday, 11 January 2019.

From 29 January 2019, employers will be able to rely on an online check and will no longer be required to obtain paper documents for prospective migrant employees that are eligible for the system.

Under the current Home Office Right to Work Checking Service, UK employers can check, free of charge, the current right to work of a migrant to see whether they are subject to any restrictions. The individual must first access the system and then grant permission for the employer to access to obtain confirmation of their status. The service has been available since April 2018, but previously employers have had to follow up their online checks by obtaining paper documents from the employee. From 29 January, the system will allow for online confirmation only.

Who Can Use the System?

Non-EEA nationals who hold biometric residence permits or biometric residence cards and EEA nationals who have been granted immigration status under the EU Settlement Scheme are able to use the system. EEA nationals who have not been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme will still need to demonstrate their right to work using the appropriate documents.

What Employers Need to Do

The online check must confirm that the employee is allowed to work in the UK and perform the work in question. The employer should further ensure that any photograph on the system is of a true likeness to the employee. Employers must also retain a copy of the online check for at least two years after the employment ends, and obtain and retain details of the term and vacation dates of the person's course of study, if they are a student.

Can Employers Continue to Use the Existing Document-Based Check?

Yes - for the time being at least, whilst migrants and employers develop familiarity with the new service.

Best Practice - Retaining Employee Documents and Records

Although the checks can be carried out online, employers need to keep a copy for at least two years. When considering retaining documents and records, employers must ensure that they are complying with the Data Protection Act 2018. There must be a valid reason for retaining any personal data, and the data should not be held for any longer than necessary. In this instance, keeping the information for two years is necessary, but employees should be informed of this. Employers should refer to their documents and records retention policies, and ensure that these are updated as required.


For further information, please contact Kiki Dawes in our Employment Law team on 0117 314 5309.