Employers have grown used to checking a new employee's immigration status before they start work, not least because of the threat of a £20,000 fine per illegal employee and the threat of being named and shamed by the Home Office. However, recent changes in the immigration rules now mean that employers may have to conduct a second 'right to work' check after an employee has started work.

Since March this year, the Home Office has been gradually introducing Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) for all visa applicants applying to enter the UK for a period of six months or more, and this is compulsory for all visa applicants from 1 July 2015.

Under the new system, migrants are given a temporary visa in their passports which expires 30 days after their intended date of travel, and must then collect their BRP within 10 days of arrival.

Migrants can, however, begin working under their temporary visa before they collect their BRP. If they do, an initial right to work check will need to be carried out against the temporary visa, and a further check against the BRP once the migrant has collected it: the BRP check must be carried out before the 30 day visa expires.

To avoid the administrative burden of carrying out two checks, migrants should be encouraged to collect their BRPs before they begin work. In addition, employers should ensure that they revise existing practices and procedures to comply with the new rules.

Details can be found in the May 2015 version of "An employer’s guide to right to work checks" on the gov.uk website.