Right to work checks – International workers

Published Nov 22, 2023

The Home Office has announced that the penalties for failing to conduct appropriate right to work checks for employees will triple to a maximum fine of £60,000 in 2024.

For a first offence, penalties will be increasing next year from £15,000 to £45,000 and the maximum fine for a repeat offender will increase from £20,000 to £60,000. The increases have been announced with the aim of deterring modern slavery, illegal migration and exploitation.

The Home Office is not changing the rule set on how checks for non-British or Irish nationals should be completed. Employers must check the right to work for non-British workers by taking either of the following steps:

1. Use Digital Identity Certification
The gov.uk website has a full list of certified companies that can run digital ID checks of non-British job applicants (and existing employees). Employers can only use a government certified company to do the checks and a list of these can be found here:

2. Completing a Home Office online right to work check

The job applicant or existing employee can generate a share code on the gov.uk website and share this with the employer.

The employer can check the code to validate the right to work in the UK.

Other points to consider include:

  • Biometric residence permits are not valid proof of right to work in the UK and nor is a manual check of a physical visa. Remember: an online check using the Home Office online right to work checking service must be used instead.
  • Employer must record the date that the check took place. If you cannot prove to the Home Office that checks were made before employment commenced you will be fined.