The Home Office is, like the rest of world, busy going totally digital. By December 2024, residence cards will no longer be valid. If you have any sort of immigration status in the UK, you will prove your right to be here, to rent, to use the NHS and to work with an online account.
Most people with the right to work are already proving this right by accessing their online account and providing a ‘share code’ to their employer. The employee just needs their current biometric residence card, EU ID card or their passport to access the account. All very simple until it fails to work of course.
One major problem is for those who have applied to renew permission to be in the UK before the expiry of their current permission expires. For example, these people have the right to work. By applying before the expiry date, their previous permission is extended while they wait for the decision on their renewal application. So they continue to have the right to work. However, their online account will not recognise this fact and will not allow them to obtain a share code.
The alternative is for the employer to carry out an online check with the employer checking service. This sounds easy but it takes five working days to receive a response from the Home Office. And sadly, we have clients who have lost jobs as a result. The employer either does not want to wait five working days or simply refuses to use the employer checking service. Perhaps the employer is fearful that they might be about to employ an illegal worker - after all, why can’t they get a share code? Or they believe the candidate may not be granted further permission to stay in the UK and there is a risk they will have to leave.
Given that some decisions on renewal of permission are taking eleven months, this state of affairs is far from ideal. There should be some way of updating the share code system while a decision is outstanding.
Be ready for these problems if you are seeking work and have applied to renew your permission to stay. If you have any concerns about this process, please contact a member of our team.