Under section 15 of the Immigration Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, an employer may be liable for a civil penalty if they employ someone who does not have the right to undertake the work in question. Employers have a duty to prevent illegal working in the UK by carrying out prescribed document checks.

The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has made a number of updates to its guidance for employers for conducting right to work checks. A summary of the updates are as follows:

  • Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs)

Between March and June 2015, the UKVI is gradually rolling out BRPs to migrants overseas who are granted permission to enter the UK for more than six months. Migrants will be issued with a vignette (sticker) in their passport which will be valid for thirty days to enable them to travel to the UK. Following their arrival in the UK, they have 10 days to collect their BRPs from a designated Post Office branch. 

The UKVI strongly encourages migrants to collect their BRPs before they commence work. However, the updated UKVI guidance confirms that migrants will be able to evidence their right to work by producing the thirty day vignette in their passport which they used to travel to the UK. If the BRP is not available prior to commencement of work, a full right to work check will need to be performed on the basis of the vignette. The right to work check which will need to be repeated when the BRP has been collected before the expiry of the vignette.

  • Residence Cards

From 6 April 2015, the UKVI started issuing Residence Cards (including Permanent Residence Cards) for non EEA family members in biometric format and stopped issuing the old vignette, although vignettes contine to be acceptable documents for right to work checks. The guidance contains a link to an example of a Residence Card.

  • Administrative Reviews

The updated guidance confirms that adminstrative reviews have replaced many rights of appeal against immigration decisions.

  • Certificate of Application

The updated guidance outlines the new process for issuing a Certificate of Application to   non EEA family members of EEA nationals following the introduction of biometric residence cards.

The UKVI have published an updated guide outlining the changes:  An employer's guide to right to work checks.