Jan 31 2019

Home Office Introduces Online Right to Work Checks

United Kingdom

The situation

As a reminder, the UK Home Office, the main UK immigration authority, has launched an online right to work checking service for employers, which can be used instead of the manual right to work checks.

A closer look

  • Eligible foreign workers. The online service allows employers to check the immigration status of foreign nationals who hold a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) or Biometric Residence Card and EU nationals who have registered under the EU Settlement Scheme.
  • Online process. The new online process has three basic steps:
    • The foreign national creates a profile in the UK government database, obtains a code in the online system and sends it to the employer;
    • The employer accesses the foreign national’s profile with the code via the Home Office website; and
    • The employer checks whether the foreign national is entitled to perform the relevant work and that the photograph on the online profile matches the foreign worker.

The employer must retain a clear electronic or hard copy of the confirmation page for the duration of the foreign national’s employment and for two years after the end of employment.

  • Alternative process. Employers can continue to use manual checks instead of the online process. For foreign nationals not eligible to use the online process, such as those not holding a Biometric Residence Permit or Card, manual checks of hardcopy documents remain mandatory.

Impact for employers

Employers should benefit from increased legal certainty on the immigration status of eligible foreign nationals, since the information is obtained directly from the Home Office system. Employers should review their onboarding policy to plan for online checks to be completed for new hires or existing foreign workers who renew their status.

Impact for foreign nationals

Eligible foreign nationals should similarly benefit from being able to provide more legal certainty on their immigration status to potential employers.


The online right to work checking service is part of a broader package of measures seeking to digitalise the UK immigration process, such as allowing online filing at consular posts and conducting electronic compliance audits.

Looking ahead

Fragomen expects the online system to be expanded to other categories of foreign workers in due time. The online system may also be expanded to allow landlords and banks to check applicant data with the applicant’s consent. Fragomen will monitor developments and report on relevant changes as they occur.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].