The Home Office Announces Changes to ‘Right to Work’ Checks


Employers in the UK are required to ensure that anyone that they employ has a legal right to work in the UK. The Immigration and Nationality Act 2006 provides that an employer may be liable for penalty if they employ someone who does not have the right to work. This could result in liability of up to £20,000 per breach and potentially criminal sanctions among other ramifications.

Employers must carry out document checks on all applicants before the start of their employment. Until now employers had to request paper documents whilst using the Right to Work Checking Service to demonstrate they had conducted the necessary right to work checks on migrants to avoid a penalty.

On 14 December 2018 the Home Office issued a press release stating that the employers will be able to use the Government’s online Employer Checking Service to demonstrate they had conducted the necessary right to work checks.

The service is voluntary for employers and individuals. It will only be available for verifying the right to work of some non-EEA/Swiss nationals initially and will not replace conventional checks.

Employers who wish to use the online service will need to obtain the consent of the employee/prospective employee to conduct the check.

Migrants may demonstrate their right to work using either the existing document checking service or the online checking service.

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The content of this update is for the purpose of providing general legal information. It does not constitute legal advice from a solicitor and should not be treated as such.