Immigration Update

Right to Work Checks

Since December last year it has become easier for employers to check migrants’ right to work in the UK.

It is a strict obligation that an employer must carry out prescribed ‘right to work’ checks on its workforce.  The Home Office online ‘Right to Work’ checking service has been available for some time, however, employers previously could not rely on using this to check entitlement to work and until now have had to carry out full paper checks of workers’ passports and visas alongside and in addition to using the service.

It is now possible for employers to rely on the Home Office checking service for the following categories only:

  • non-EEA nationals who hold biometric residence permits or biometric residence cards;
  • EEA nationals who have been granted settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (see below).

EEA nationals who have not been granted settled status under the EEA scheme will still need to demonstrate their right to work by provided the appropriate documents, such as their national passport.

Individuals can authorise their current or prospective employer to see information about their immigration status and conduct a check and will be able to see exactly what information will be shared.

EU Citizens: Settled status and pre-settled status

To secure immigration rights in the UK, EU citizens will need to apply for settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme. The scheme will open fully by 30 March this year.

Whilst the immigration rights of EU citizens to live and work in the UK will not change until 2021 we are advising the employers should encourage their affected staff to apply for settled or pre-settled status when the scheme opens.  Having settled or pre-settled status protects the rights of EU citizens to continue to live and work in the UK.

Streamlined applications and ability to retain passport in application process

New Home Office visa centres opened recently in Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast and Croydon. In addition, there will be 50 enhanced service centres opening nationally, which will be available to customers for a charge and a new premium lounge which will be located in London. While appointments remain free, applicants will also have the option to purchase added value services such as same day appointments and ‘On Demand’ services.

Most people applying in the UK will be able to submit their biometric information including photos, fingerprints, and signatures as well as their supporting evidence at a single appointment. The Home Office can now take digital copies of evidence meaning that most people will be able to retain their passports while their applications are processed.  This is a big improvement as having passports retained by the Home Office, often for several weeks or months, was a major inconvenience, especially for business people.

This article is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action.