As we start the first full week of July 2021 (how has that happened!). It’s important you know that there is a new process in place when determining a candidate’s right to work status.

And you need to know this NOW!

Get it wrong and it could cost you £20k. Per employee!

What’s happened to EU nationals applying for settled status?

The deadline for European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals to apply for settled or pre-settled status has now passed.

The deadline was the 30th June 2021.

This means that job applicants are now no longer able to use their passports or national identity cards as proof of their right to work here in the UK.

There is however one exception to this new ruling and that is for our Irish neighbours. They are still able to provide their passports as evidence of right to work status.

For employers this now means that you need to satisfy your employer obligations for new employees from Swiss and EEA areas differently. A new employee’s right to work status will need to be determined through the Governments ‘online right to work checking service’.  New employees will need to provide you with an access code and their date of birth. You will then be able to use the service and check their settled status.

But what about existing staff within your organisation?

As an employer you are not required to go back retrospectively and check the right to work status of current employees.  As an employer you can continue to rely on pervious methods of right to work checks carried out prior to the 1st July 2021.

What if existing staff do not have settled or pre-settled status?

Say you become aware that an existing employee (who was in your employment before the 30th June 2021) has not applied for settled or pre-settled status. As their employer, you are required to take immediate action.

Firstly, you must advise the employee to make an application to the Governments settlement scheme.  This application will need to be done within 28 days. The employee will then need to provide you with a certificate of application.

Following this you as their employer must then obtain from the Home Office a Positive Verification Notice (PVN). This provides you as the employer a statutory excuse against any civil penalty for employing illegal workers for six months. You can continue to employ the employee during this time, while their application is processed.

As an employer you have a responsibility to ensure follow-up checks are carried out before the PVN expires.

What happens if employees don’t gain settled or pre-settled status?

If your employee’s application for settled or pre-settled status is refused, or they do not make an application within the required 28 days. As their employer you must take steps to end their employment.  As the employee is regarded as an illegal worker and you could face sanctions such as:

  • A civil penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker.
  • In serious cases, a criminal conviction carrying a prison sentence of up to five years and an unlimited fine.
  • Closure of your business and a compliance order issued by the court.
  • Disqualification as a director.

Full details of the new Home Office right to work checks can be found in the Governments employer guide

For more information or if you have any questions about your policies and procedures, please do get in touch. Or why not add to the discussion on LinkedIn?

Join us for the next and final instalment, where we will talk about onboarding new employees into your organisation.

In the meantime, please check out our HR Consultancy Birmingham.