Guidance on Right to Work Checks
End of Temporary Covid-adjusted Right To Work Checks: 1st Oct 2022
From 1 October 2022, UK employs will no longer be able to use the temporary Covid-adjusted right to work guidance. This means that hiring departments will no-longer be able to ask prospective employees to share a scanned copy or photo of their documents and then confirm their identity over a video call.
Instead, hiring departments will be required to resume pre-pandemic methods of check, specifically for British and Irish citizens, requiring a physical “in-person” review of an individual’s documentation prior to engagement with Queen Mary.
There are two types of right to work check that UK employers are required to conduct. The appropriate check will depend on the status of the job applicant. In summary, and from the 1st October 2022, Queen Mary will operate to the following:
For British and Irish citizens:
- The right to work status must be checked manually (i.e. a physical check).
For non-British citizens (holding a Biometric Residence Permits (BRP), Biometric Residence Cards (BRC) or Frontier Worker Permits):
- The right to work status must be confirmed by the Home Office via an official online check.
If an applicant cannot show their documents. You must contact the Home Office Employer Checking Service. If the person has a right to work, the Employer Checking Service will send you a ‘Positive Verification Notice’. This provides you with a statutory excuse for 6 months from the date in the notice.
It remains an offence to work illegally in the UK. Any individual identified who is disqualified from working by reason of their immigration status, may be liable to enforcement action.
IMPORANT NOTICE: If in doubt about an individual’s ability to work in the UK, please contact HR prior to the person undertaking any work.
Manual Right To Work Checks:
From the 1st October 2022 hiring departments and HR will revert back to the “three step” approach for conducting manual “in-person” right to work checks:
- Obtain: You must see the applicant’s original documents.
- Check: You must check that the documents are valid with the applicant physically present.
- Copy: You must make and keep copies of the documents and record the date you made the checks.
It is vital that three step approach must be conducted prior to the engagement of an applicant. Checks made on or after first day of employment are considered invalid by the Home Office. It is equally important that copies of relevant documents are secured in a timely manner and submitted to HR for verification as part of the pre-engagement recruitment process.
How to conduct a check
It is essential that you conduct a right to work checks before any work is undertaken. You may conduct either a physical document check or perform an online check to establish a right to work. An explanation for each method is below however, it is not necessary to do both.
Where an online check cannot be used then a physical check must be done instead.
Physical Document Check
The eligible documents are divided into two distinct lists, List A and List B.
- List A documents give the University a continuous statutory excuse for the duration of the individual's employment.
- List B documents give the University a time-limited statutory excuse for the duration the document remains valid. Additional checks will need to be undertaken for those who present documents from List B.
Only documents from these lists can be accept as evidence of a right to work. A link to Home Office checklist is below, please note that where it says current we cannot accept expired documents.
Acceptable evidence of a Right to Work
Online Document Check
For an online right to work check (available in respect of those with a biometric residence permit, a biometric residence card, an electronic visa, or have status issued under the EU settlement scheme). The individual will need to produce a share code to allow you to access their online record.
Please ensure the individual enters the email address of the person undertaking the check, not their own email address.
Checking the Right To Work during Covid-adjusted period and until 30th September:
Until 30th September 2022, the University can accept remote right to work checks as long as they have been undertaken in line with our temporary right to work policy.
Those carrying out temporary adjusted checks must:
- ask the worker to submit a scanned copy or a photo of their original documents via email or using a mobile app
- arrange a video call with the worker – ask them to hold up the original documents to the camera and check them against the digital copy of the documents, record the date the check was made and mark it as “adjusted check undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19”; or
- if the worker has a current Biometric Residence Permit or Biometric Residence Card or has been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme or the points-based immigration system online right to work checking service can be used while doing a video call – the applicant must give permission to view their details.
- Right to Work checks must be done for all prospective employees prior to their first day of employment.
- A right to work check must be done irrespective of the length of the engagement or employment contract.
- A check must be done each time the person is engaged by the University. We cannot reuse previous right to work checks.
- Only documents from lists A or B of the attached document are acceptable evidence of a right to work
- The most up to date version of this list will always be on the Home Office website here.
- Documents not listed will be rejected and delay the employee’s start date.
Step 1: Obtain original versions of one or more of the acceptable documents;
Step 2: Check the original documents in the presence of the holder of the documents;
Step 3: Make copies of the documents, retain copies and a record of the date on which the check is made.
- All document copies must be clear and legible in a format which cannot later be altered.
- All right to work checks must be signed and dated by the person checking the document.
- The following statement must be used to certify that the original has been seen:
I (PRINT NAME) undertook the right to work check on (DATE).
You can find further information about conducting right to work checks here.
Non-EEA nationals who are in the UK on a student visa may be able to work for Queen Mary depending on the conditions of their visa.
A Tier 4 or Student visa issued for full-time degree level studies allows students to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week during term-time. This is a maximum of 20 hours in total in any one week, including paid or unpaid work and for one or more organisation. The 20 hours cannot be averaged over a longer period. A 'week' is defined by the Home Office as a period of 7 days beginning with a Monday. Please note that the definition of term time will vary depending on the student’s level of study.
Further information on employing students can be found in the Managers Guidance section here.
A Tier 2 / Skilled Worker visa holder, not sponsored by Queen Mary, may be able to work for the University where the following requirements are met:
- The job is either included on the Shortage Occupation List, or is in the same profession and at the same professional level, as the work for which their Certificate of Sponsorship was assigned; and
- Is for no more than 20 hours per week; and
- Conducted outside of the normal working hours for which their Certificate of Sponsorship was assigned. The individual must be continuing to work for their sponsor.
In addition, they must continue to work for their sponsor in the job recorded on their Certificate of Sponsorship.
If you wish to employ someone on a Tier 2 / Skilled Worker visa
Please contact HR before engaging anyone on a Tier 2 /Skilled Worker visa; we will require sight of the following documents:
- Their right to work documents;
- Their Certificate of Sponsorship;
- Confirmation from their employer that this role will not interfere with their regular employment;
- A completed Supplementary Work Declaration [DOC 122KB].
More information about the Skilled Worker route can be found in Guidance for Managers.
Endorsements showing that the prospective employee is exempt from immigration control, is allowed to stay indefinitely (ILR) in the UK, or has no time limit on their stay in the UK can only be relied on if they are in a current passport.
Where someone has an expired passport endorsed to show that they are exempt from immigration control, is allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK, or has no time limit on their stay in the UK (whether in the form of a stamp or a visa) they will need to submit a No Time Limit application to the Home Office to be issued with a BRP, showing that they have Indefinite Leave to Remain/ No Time Limit on their stay in the UK.
Please note that refugee and asylum seekers require additional evidence before we can establish whether they can work in the UK. Refugees are generally issued a Blue British Travel Document and a Biometric Residence Card. We require sight of both of these documents, the travel document alone is not evidence of a right to work.
Asylum seekers are issued with an Application Registration Card (ARC), which will look the same as a BRP. This alone is not evidence of a right to work; HR will also need to contact the Home Office via the Employer Checking Service to confirm any right to work. Please contact HR before employing anyone considered a refugee or asylum seeker.
If a refugee or asylum seeker is unable to work it will be stated on the BRP / ARC.
Employee's who present a valid list B document as evidence of their right to work will require a follow up check to ensure they they can still legally work in the UK.
As the manager of a member of staff working at Queen Mary on a UK visa, you should be aware of your responsibilities for ensuring that Queen Mary is compliant with immigration rules and that your staff do not breach their visa conditions.
Visa expiry process
All staff are required to demonstrate that they have the right to work for the duration of their employment. Individual's with a time limited visa must make an application to either extend their visa or switch immigration category before their current visa expires. This is referred to as a "in-time" application.
Where an in-time application has been made the terms of the individual's visa will be extended for the period they are awaiting a decision from the Home Office.
HR has a record of all time limited visas and will normally send a reminder to staff to renew their visas 3 months prior to their visa expiry date. As a line manager you should ensure that you are aware of your staff’s visa expiry dates and actively encourage them to renew their visas promptly so that you can be confident that they will still be able to work after their visa expires.
Working while awaiting a visa application
If an in-time application is made the individual will continue to be able to work for the University, subject to the terms of their expired visa. HR will need to use the Home Office Employer Checking Service to confirm the outstanding application in order to maintain a statutory excuse against prosecution. A positive verification will provide a 6 month excuse while the application is being processed.
Once an individual has successfully applied for a new visa a new right to work check must be conducted. This must be done as soon as possible after the individual receives their new visa.
From 1 July 2021, the majority of EEA citizens will prove their right to work using the Home Office online right to work service. Those who have made a successful application to the EU SEttlement Scheme will have been granted their immigration status digitally and can only prove their right to work using Home Office online service ‘prove your right to work to an employer’ available on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/prove-right-to-work.
To prove their right to work from 1 July 2021, individuals will provide the University with a share code and their date of birth, which will enable us to check their Home Office immigration status via the online service available on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/view-right-to-work.
The University will obtain a statutory excuse against liability for a civil penalty if you carry out the check using the online service.
- If an EEA citizen has been granted ‘Settled Status’ by the Home Office, they will have a continuous right to work, in the same way as someone with Indefinite Leave to Enter / Remain status.
- If an EEA citizen has been granted ‘Pre-Settled Status’ by the Home Office, they will have a time-limited right to work and you must carry out a follow-up check. The Home Office online service will advise when a follow-up check must be carried out.
EU Settled Status can be checked online on the Government website. The individual will provide you with a "share code" which you can use to access their online account.
Exceptions to the Home Office online service when proving right to work
As of 1 July, there will be some cohorts of EEA citizens who will not have status under the EUSS. They will evidence their right to work using specified documents if they cannot use the Home Office online system. These are detailed below:
- Frontier Worker Permits
- Service Provider of Switzerland visas
- Outstanding applications to UK EUSS
- Outstanding applications to Crown Dependency EUSS
- EEA citizens with Indefinite Leave to Enter/Remain
- Points-Based System visas
Anyone coming to the University to undertake any form of work whether paid or unpaid will require a right to work check. If you intend to invite someone to Queen Mary to undertake any work please ensure that they apply for the correct visa prior to their arrival in the UK.
If the person you have invited arrives on a tourist visa they will not be able to work.
Please refer to the Academic visitor guidance for further information.
HR will need to contact the Home Office to check an employee or potential employee’s immigration employment status if one of the following applies:
- you’re reasonably satisfied that they cannot show you their documents because of an outstanding appeal, administrative review or application with the Home Office
- they have an Application Registration Card
- they have a Certificate of Application that is less than 6 months old
- they’re a Commonwealth citizen who’s been living in the UK since before 1988
Application registration cards and certificates of application must state that the work the employer is offering is permitted. Many of these documents do not allow the person to work.
The Home Office will send the University a ‘Positive Verification Notice’ to confirm that the applicant has the right to work.
EEA nationals who wish to come to the UK for work or study after 1 January 2021 will generally require a visa before they can enter the country.
EEA nationals who successfully apply for a visa will not be issued with a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) they will have an online status only. This will need to be checked via the the Home Office's online checking service rather than as a physical check.
More information about electronic visas for EEA nationals can be found on the Home Office website.
Unfortunately, there will be times when an individual cannot access the online right to work check system to produce a share code.
If an individual is not able to access their Home Office record then they will need to provide an acceptable document, where possible, for a physical check instead.
If they are not able to provide an acceptable document then they should contact the UK Visas and Immigration contact centre:
Telephone: +44 (0)300 790 6268 - select option 3
Telephone: +44 (0)203 875 4669, if they are unable to dial 0300 numbers
The service is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm and Saturday and Sunday, 9:30am to 4:30pm
Further information can be found on the Government website.