Home Office announces that digital Right to Work and Right to Rent checks are here to stay from 6 April 2022

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26 January, 2022

The Home Office has announced that from 6 April 2022, there will be changes to the way in which Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), Biometric Residence Card (BRC) and Frontier Worker Permit (FWP) evidence their right to work and right to rent.

From 6 April 2022, the presentation of a physical document will no longer be acceptable and employers and landlord will not be able to check a physical BRP, BRC or FWP as a right to work or right to rent. Employees will only be able to use the online Home Office service going forwards.

The new digital validation system means that a remote alternative to the manual checks which have been in place in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, are here to stay. The decision to move to a digital system is expected to be popular amongst employers in particular, with Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) reportedly stating that the new system will be beneficial for businesses as the job market recovers, with the system supposedly being quicker and easier to use, but still maintaining the high levels of compliance which keeps staff safe.

At present, there are two types of checks - an online check and a manual check, the online check is currently required for all BRP, BRC and FWP holders, and any other individuals that hold digital proof only, of their immigration status in the UK. While the manual check system is set to be scrapped entirely.

However, employers and landlords needn't worry about performing retrospective checks on the status of BRP and BRC holders who are employed or entered into a tenancy agreement up to and including the 5 April 2022, as they will maintain a statutory excuse against any civil penalty if checks were made in accordance with the applicable guidance at the time of the check being made.

It is imperative that prospective tenants or prospective workers have lawful immigration status. Therefore, employers and landlords must be mindful that if they do not conduct the correct Right to Work or Right to Rent checks on a prospective tenant or before an applicant commences work in the UK, they could be liable for a civil penalty. Further guidance will be published imminently by the Home Office.

For more information contact Amy Stokes in our Employment & HR department via email or phone on 0333 207 1157. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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