Introduction of online right to work checks for migrant workers

by | 9 Apr 2019

Simon Higson provides key commentary on the introduction of online right to work checks for migrant workers and highlights what you need to know about this new streamlined approach.

On 28 January 2019 the new online right to work checks for migrant workers went live which means that employers can use online service facilities to conduct the necessary right to work checks on migrants and there is no longer a requirement to review or copy original documents belonging to migrant worker.

Employers of non-EEA nationals who hold biometric residence permits (BRPs) or biometric residence cards and EEA nationals with settled status or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme can use the service. UK nationals, EEA nationals who do not have settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, and non-EEA nationals who have a visa in their passport rather than a BRP will continue to prove their right to work by showing original documents, such as their passport.

The streamlined approach to right to work checks now allows for the employer or the existing employee to view their own immigration record, which can then be shared with the necessary person within the prospective or employing organisation, for example HR. Upon making an online check, the relevant person will receive notification that they have a pending immigration record to view. By viewing the record and conducting a number of checks, a statutory excuse against a civil penalty is secured.

The below checks must be completed when using the online service:

  • the check must confirm the employee is allowed to work in the UK and perform the work in question, and
  • the photograph on the online right to work check must be of the employee.

A copy of the online check must be taken and retained for a minimum of two years after the employment ends. This new system will is optional to use, employers and individuals can choose whether to use the online system or the existing manual documents checks.

The code of practice on preventing illegal working can be found here.

Contact us for help with any issue raised in this article on +44 (0)20 3151 6794 or email


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