In our previous update on 18 March 2015, we provided details of the phased roll-out of Biometric Residence Permits (BRP) for non-EEA nationals travelling to the UK for more than six months. As each country switches over to the new process, migrants will initially be issued with a 30 day travel visa and will then need to collect their BRP from their nearest post office, once they arrive in the UK.

This change in the processing of visa applications will necessitate a change in the way employers carry out their first day checks, which is explained in further detail below:

Can someone work in the UK before they collect their BRP?

Once a migrant arrives in the UK they are strongly encouraged to collect their BRP before they start work and in any event they must collect it within 10 days of arrival. If they need to start work prior to collecting their BRP, they will be able to evidence their right to work by producing the 30 day travel visa in their passport which they used to travel to the UK. However, as this will expire 30 days from issue, the check will have to be repeated using the BRP for the statutory excuse to continue.

What are the implications if the migrant does not collect the BRP within 10 days of arrival in the UK?

The employer is not required to immediately terminate the employment where they believe the employee continues to have the right to work. However, once the 30 day travel visa has expired, you will not be able to establish a statutory excuse if it transpires that the employee is working illegally. You will also not know when the employee’s permission to work expires.

Without the BRP, once the 30 day travel visa has expired an individual will have no evidence of their right to be in the UK and their right to work here. They will also not be able to travel in or out of the country.

Also, by not collecting the BRP, the employee is breaching regulations requiring them to collect it. A number of sanctions against an individual could be taken by the Home Office, including a civil penalty and varying or ending their permission to be in the UK.