Digital Right to Work checks - made permanent

During the lockdown, the Government changed the rules on right to work checks which permitted employers to do these online or remotely.    These changes had been due to end sooner but had been extended to the 5th April this year. 

However, the Government has now confirmed that this change will become permanent and that employers may continue to remotely check and verify a candidate’s right to work in the UK.

A right to work check applies to all candidates and an employer should conduct the right to work check before any offer of employment is made.   If a candidates right to work is time limited i.e. their permit will expire soon, then a follow up check is required before the expiry of any permit or visa.

In order to defend a civil penalty if an employee is found to be working illegally, an employer can rely on the statutory excuse defence.  To do so, the employer must be able to show that it did one of the following before the employee started work:

  1. A manual right to work check (inspection of documents)
  2. A right to work check using IDVT (identity document validation technology) via the service of an identify service provider; or
  3. A Home Office online right to work check

Where an employee or candidate has an existing application for right to remain, an employer can use the Home Office online Employer Checking Service.

Failure to carry out a right to work check is a criminal offence under Section 21 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 (as amended) and can result in a six-month custodial sentence and a financial penalty.

To speak to a member of our employment team in complete confidence, please contact 01689 887840.

View my profile
    • 01689 887812
    • 07787 228116
    • View profile


Although correct at the time of publication, the contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Please contact us for the latest legal position.