Can I Do an Online Right to Work Check for a UK Citizen?

This guide explains how employers can verify a potential employee's right-to-work status using digital identity checks and other methods.

Can I Do an Online Right to Work Check for a UK Citizen?

Digital right to work verifications are an important part of the hiring process for employers in the UK. The Home Office's right to work verification service, available on GOV (UK), provides employers with access to up-to-date, real-time information on migrants' right to work, making it easier for people to demonstrate their rights in the UK. Employers can use identity document validation (IDVT) technology by using a certified identity service provider (IDSP) to check British and Irish citizens who are not available on the Home Office's online service. Individuals will be able to authorize their current or potential employer to view information about their immigration status for verification and will be able to see exactly what information will be shared.

You may only be allowed to perform certain types of jobs, which are called “scarcity occupations”. If you are only allowed to perform scarce occupations, your ARC will say “SOL”. You can check if your work is included in the list of occupations with scarcity on GOV, UK.

A digital right to work verification allows employers to use identity document validation (IDVT) technology through a certified identity service provider (IDSP) to complete the digital identity verification aspect of right-to-work checks for British and Irish passport holders.

Therefore, digital right-to-work checks are only for prospective employees who hold a valid British or Irish passport, including an Irish passport card.

You must include in the document the following statement, “Date on which this verification of the right to work was performed”, signed and dated by yourself. This means you'll have to check again to keep the legal excuse, usually when the person's permission to be in the UK expires. If the Ministry of the Interior considers that you knew or should have reasonably known that the person was working illegally (with or without proof of the right to work), it would be processed as a criminal case, which can result in an unlimited fine and up to five years in prison. Digital verification of the right to work through the services of an IDSP is one of several prescribed ways in which employers can ensure that potential employees are not disqualified from working in the United Kingdom or from performing the work offered to them due to their immigration status.

All employers in the UK are required to verify the right to work of all potential employees or volunteers before starting work. If the online verification of the right to work does not confirm that the person has the right to work in the United Kingdom and to perform the work in question, you will not have established a legal excuse for such verification if you proceed to hire them. Carrying out control over a person with a temporary right to work will establish a legal excuse limited in time. We offer expert advice on the right to work regime in the United Kingdom, including the correct use of digital right-to-work controls and training for employers on how to comply with immigration obligations and avoid penalties in the event of non-compliance.

The objective of the program on digital right-to-work is to allow employers to use certified Internet service providers to verify digital identity on their behalf of British and Irish citizens who are unable to use the Home Office's online service. Along with the permit holder's date of birth, employers may enter an exchange code into their online service to check employees' right to work. There are several ways employers can verify an employee's right to work in the UK, depending on their nationality, where identity service providers can be used for digital identity checks for British and Irish citizens. Therefore, if a potential employee fails digital verification of their right-to-work, for example because their identity document is not authentic or belongs to another person, employers should not hire them because they cannot prove their right-to-work.

Right-to-work checks must be carried out on all potential employees before starting a new job, regardless of their nationality or ethnic origin, as well as for any existing employee whose initial verification reveals that their permission is limited in time. The UCheck platform offers an electronic passport verification service but there are additional checks employers need to perform manually.