Employment and pensions

Immigration update: online right-to-work checks

Published on 15th Feb 2021


The online Right to Work Checking Service, gives employers access to up-to-date, real-time information about overseas workers' right to work in the UK, making it easier for individuals to prove their rights in the UK.

The online Right to Work Checking Service is secure and free to use. Employers can use the online service to demonstrate they conducted the necessary right-to-work checks on overseas worker (establishing the employers' statutory defence against illegal working) and potentially avoid penalties.

The service is voluntary for employers and individuals however in light of the Covid-19 pandemic is a much easier way to conduct the right-to-work check.
Individuals will be able to authorise their current or prospective employer to see information about their immigration status to conduct the check and will be able to see exactly what information will be shared.

Currently, the online service supports checks on those:

  • who hold a biometric residence permit;
  • who hold a biometric residence card; or
  • whose status was issued under the EU Settlement Scheme (alternatively, these individuals can continue to demonstrate their right to work by presenting their EU passport or ID card until the end of the EU exit "grace period" on 30 June 2021).

The service works on the basis of the individual first viewing their own Home Office right-to-work record. They may then share this information with their employer or perspective employer if they wish, by providing a "share code". An employer or perspective employer then uses the share code along with the individual’s date of birth, and this enables them to access the information. The share code will be valid for 30 days, after which a new code will be required in order to conduct an online check.

An individual can view and send a share code at: https://www.gov.uk/prove-right-to-work

An employer or prospective employer can use the share code and view an individual's right to work at: https://www.gov.uk/view-right-to-work

The Home Office has an audit record of online checks conducted by employers using the service; however, a copy of the online right to work check should be retained. A statutory excuse will not be established by viewing the migrant part of the service.

If the online right-to-work check does not confirm that the individual has the right to work in the UK, a statutory excuse will not have been established. In these circumstances, you will need to conduct further checks or contact the Home Office Employer Checking Service to establish a statutory defence.
Right-to-work checks are extremely important and we would encourage all employers to have a robust policy in place in relation to these checks. Our team would be happy to assist with any questions or concerns you may have in this regard.

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* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

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