What Is UK Right to Work Compliance in 2022?
The last two years have been difficult for employees, companies, and recruiters alike. Many employers were influenced by the shifting sands of stay-at-home orders and health and safety rules during Covid-19, as well as trying to retain staff in the face of burnout and the Great Resignation.
Employers are challenged to stay abreast of shifting legislation in the face of ongoing uncertainty. Before taking on a new employee, companies must ensure that they are legally qualified to work in the UK. Before being employed, all workers, including British and EU citizens as well as non-EEA nationals, must pass these checks. You could face civil penalties of up to £20,000 per illegal worker and irreparable reputational damage if you make the wrong decision.
What are the changes to right to work compliance in 2022?
Right to work checks
The end date for the temporary adjusted checks has been extended to 30 September 2022
The below guidance still applies:
- checks can currently be carried out over video calls
- job applicants and existing workers can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals
- employers should use the Home Office Employer Checking Service if a prospective or existing employee cannot provide any of the accepted documents
UK Points based Migration
The UK will require migrant workers applying for a visa to qualify for 70 points. The Common Travel Area allows Irish citizens to reside in the UK and work here.
How are points earned?
- 50 points can be reached by having a job offer from an approved employer for a skilled job and being able to speak English.
- 20 points can be achieved if the applicant is to be paid at least £25,600 per annum.
- Extra points can be achieved through better qualifications.
- There is also a fast-track visa scheme for healthcare professionals
EU, EEA, or Swiss nationals who live outside the UK yet work or are self-employed in the UK are considered border workers.
The border worker permit can be granted digitally or on paper. Employers can do a manual or online background check.
What should companies do to prepare?
Speed of turnaround is critical in industries that require a large number of workers, such as hospitality and care, to fill available slots with compliant staff. Right to Work offers a user-friendly mobile app as well as a cloud-based administrative interface. It checks eligibility for employment in the UK and stores proof of compliance in less than five steps.
The bottom line
While there is still much uncertainty, it is clear that those who remain agile and ready to stay on top of compliance rules will reap the benefits of an engaged, diverse, and flexible workforce, and employers should consider whether now is the right time to audit their practices to ensure they are up to date. The areas highlighted above are those where we anticipate the most scrutiny in 2022, whether from regulators, the media, or employees and unions, and thus the highest risk, whether from a legal, financial, reputational, regulatory, or employee relations standpoint.