With the promise of warmer weather on the way, we are also expecting a number of key changes to the immigration rules in Spring 2022 that UK employers and international workers should be aware of. Here we will take a closer look at some of these changes to immigration policy, including digital right to work checks and two new schemes.
In December 2021, the government announced its intention to allow employers the ability to use digital identity service providers to carry out identity checks on their behalf. The government has now published updated guidance entitled, “Employer right to work checks supporting guidance”, which outlines a new process for right to work checks for biometric cardholders, which comes into force on 6th April 2022. This confirms that from this date, BRC, BRP and FWP holders will have to evidence their right to work using the Home Office’s online service. It also confirms that employers will no longer be permitted to accept physical BRC, BRP or FWP cards when carrying out right to work checks. In line with this new policy, BRCs, BRPs, and FWPs are being removed from the list of acceptable documents for manual right to work checks. Where an employer ignores this guidance and uses one of these cards as a form of verification when carrying out a right to work check, they will no longer have a valid excuse against a civil penalty if an individual does not have the right to work in the UK. Employers will not be required to carry out retrospective checks, however, if physical biometric cards were used to check a person’s right to work before 6th April 2022.
In addition, from 6th April 2022, employers will be able to use a new online system called “Identity Document Validation Technology” (IDVT) to check the right to work of British and Irish nationals with a valid passport. Checks are carried out by approved Identity Service Providers (IDSP) and can be used for right to work and pre-employment DBS checks. It will remain the employer’s responsibility to check that the IDSP used is suitably certified and that the digital check is carried out in accordance with the requirements. As of the date of writing, the government website states, “there are currently no IDSPs certified. Employers, landlords, and other relevant organisations interested in procuring a certified IDSP should engage directly with those IDSPs once a list is available”. Once the scheme is up and running with IDSPs, it is expected that employers will pay a fee for each check carried out.
In August 2021, the government announced, “The new Global Business Mobility route for overseas businesses seeking to establish a presence here or transfer staff to the UK will be launched in Spring 2022 under the existing sponsorship system”. The new category is expected to replace several existing visas and place them under a single category, including the following:
The aim of this new route (and hence the common theme between the visas being merged together) is the establishment and expansion of overseas businesses in the UK. The new category has five individual routes:
The new High Potential Individual route goes live on 30th May 2022. The High Potential Individual Visa is aimed at recent graduates from highly ranked international universities who plan to work (or seek work) in the UK. It is important to note that this visa does not lead directly to ILR in the UK, but it will be possible to switch to another visa that will. Applicants will need to meet the following eligibility requirements:
The new right to work check changes will require employers in the UK to review their policies, procedures, and training to ensure their ongoing compliance. Whether you are an employer or employee and require assistance to navigate any of the new immigration rules and visa changes for Spring 2022, it is advisable to seek the guidance of an immigration Solicitor.
For assistance with your immigration law matter, phone us on 0121 777 7715 to make an appointment with one of our SRA Regulated Immigration Solicitors based in Birmingham and London.
Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice.