Right To Work Checks Update – End of Covid-19 Adjusted Checks

Posted in : Supplementary Articles NI on 25 October 2022
Rob Tubman
A&L Goodbody Northern Ireland LLP
Issues covered: Immigration; Right to Work Checks; Covid-19 Adjusted Checks

Temporary adjustments to Right to Work checks introduced in March 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic formally ended on 30 September 2022.

Adjusted checks were initially slated to end after 16 May 2021, but this was deferred a number of times, most recently to allow employers time to establish commercial relationships with Identity Service Providers (IDSP) for the purpose of completing digital checks on valid British and Irish passports (including Irish passport cards) after 6 April 2022, or to put measures in place to enable face to face manual checks if they do not wish to use an IDSP.

As of 1 October 2022, employers must carry out right to work checks in one of three prescribed manners set out in UKVI guidance:

1. Manual Check

Individuals who do not hold a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), Biometric Residence Card (BRC), Frontier Worker Permit (FWP) or e-visa can have their original documents checked manually. This includes British and Irish nationals, as well as those who hold other types of time-limited permission, such as an entry vignette.

The document must be one featured on List A or List B of UKVI’s Right to Work Checklist.

2. Home Office Online Check

As of 6 April 2022, an online check must be carried out for anyone holding a BRP, BRC, FWP or e-visa.

The online check allows them to view their right to work status and share this with their current or prospective employer using a share code.

The online check is done in real time using information held by the Home Office. This means there is no need for employers to see or check the individual's documents.

While this may be seen as a welcome development for employers looking to streamline their processes, they cannot insist that individuals make use of the online checking service

3. Using an Identify Service Provider

In December 2021, the government announced plans to enable employers to use certified IDSPs to carry out identity checks on their behalf, for certain individuals including British and Irish nationals.

IDSP's review copies of an individual's passport as well as an image of the individual and provide a report on the authenticity of the document, which is then shared with the employer. The employer needs to satisfy themselves that the photo in the report matches the individual presenting for work.

Using an IDSP is not mandatory and is entirely optional at this stage.

What if an individual cannot provide documents or evidence a right to work?

There may be circumstances where an individual is unable to show their documents and prove a right to work, such as if they have a pending immigration application, or are awaiting receipt of a BRP or similar endorsement, or if there are issues with the online service.

In that case, employers can use the Home Office employer checking service to determine if an individual has a right to work. If that is the case, the Home Office will issue a Positive Verification Notice (PVN) which provides a statutory excuse against penalty for 6 months from the date it is issued. 

Key takeaways

  • Employers do not need to carry out retrospective checks on those who had a Covid-19 adjusted check between 30 March 2020 and 30 March 2022. 
  • If a prospective or current employee is unable to show their documents, employers should contact the Home Office employer checking service to establish if the individual has a right to work. 
  • If using an IDSP, they must be a certified provider. If not, the employer will not establish a statutory excuse. The employer needs to check that the photo in the report matches the individual presenting for work. 
  • Ensure that from 1 October 2022, endorsements on copies of manually checked documents are changed to reflect that the original document has been provided.


This article is correct at 25/10/2022

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Rob Tubman
A&L Goodbody Northern Ireland LLP

The main content of this article was provided by Rob Tubman. Contact telephone number is +44 28 9031 4466 or email rtubman@algoodbody.com

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