Employers will no longer need to request paper documents in order to check if staff have the right to work in the UK, the Home Office has announced.
It said the requirement to provide documents as part of the online Right to Work Checking Service, which has been operating since last April, will be dropped when the system is upgraded on 28 January.
Workers will be able to authorise their current or prospective employer to see information about their immigration status to conduct the check, and will be able to see what information will be shared.
The new system provides employers with up-to-date information and, the Government says, makes it easier for migrants to prove their rights.
Caroline Nokes (pictured), the immigration minister, said: “This is another step we are taking to simplify and modernise the immigration system.
“The online Right to Work Checking Service makes the checks simpler for employers and provides greater security, as they no longer need to rely on physical documents when checking migrant’s status, further reducing the risk of forged documents being presented.
“Above all, our new checking service makes it easier than ever for migrants to view and prove their right to work in the UK.”
The change comes in the wake of the Windrush scandal, which saw many UK residents who had lived in the country for decades unable to prove their right to work because they lacked documentation.
Voluntary but encouraged
The checking service is voluntary for both employers and individuals, but the Home Office strongly encourages that it is used to avoid penalties down the line.
It is available to non-EEA (European Economic Area) nationals who hold biometric residence permits or cards and to EEA nationals who have been granted ‘settled status’ under the post-Brexit scheme. Until settled status is granted, they will still need to demonstrate their right to work using their national passport, or other appropriate documents.
The changes will also make it simpler for UK nationals without British passports to demonstrate their citizenship by enabling them to use a free short birth or adoption certificate, instead of the long versions.
The checking service works through alternative online channels for employers and for migrants.
Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0