Right to work in the UK


01   Can I work in the UK?

All spouses/children who are in the UK under Armed Forces immigration rules are eligible to work. If your Biometric Residence Permit does not say that you can’t work, then you are eligible to work. If you have a student visa you may have restrictions on how much work you can do, it will say this on your permit/visa. Spouses on visit visas can’t work. If your visa has expired and you didn’t make an application to remain in the UK before it expired then you are an overstayer and also can’t work.

Back to top

02   How do I prove my right to work in the UK - soldiers and spouses

Holders of Biometric Residence Permits

From 6 April 2022 it is no longer possible for your employer to conduct a manual right to work check if you have a Biometric Residence Permit. They will have to conduct an online check. You must first request a ‘share code’ at gov.uk/prove-right-to-work which you will then pass onto your employer who will use this to conduct the check*.

*Holders of Indefinite leave to Enter (ILE) who have transferred this leave to a BRP

We are currently aware of a problem for previous holders of ILE stamps who applied to switch to a BRP. It appears that you cannot get a share code to evidence your right to work. In this case your employer will need to request an employer check as outlined in number 3 of this section. Please get in touch if you need us to explain this to your employer.

Holders of ILE or ILR stamped in a valid passport

If you have a valid passport stamped to show that you have indefinite leave in the UK (whether indefinite leave to enter or indefinite leave to remain) or no time limit on your stay then you can use this to prove your continuous right to work in the UK, it is not necessary for your employer to request an online check. If your passport with your indefinite leave stamp in it has expired then you are unable to work, you will need to apply for a BRP instead, see our ILE vignettes and Biometric Residence Permits section.

Since 16 May 2014, for those people in the UK who require permission to work and reside, an immigration endorsement must be in a current passport to demonstrate a right to work.

I am an EEA national and have leave under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), how can I prove my right to work?

If you have settled or pre-settled status under the EUSS your employer will need to conduct an online check but it’s a different check to the one above, just to confuse things! See gov.uk/view-prove-immigration-status. If you applied for leave under the EUSS but have not yet been granted leave, then the check your employer will need to conduct will depend if you have a digital or non-digital Certificate of Application (COA), please refer to page 40 of the guidance linked under ‘Further Information’

Proving your right to work if you are a soldier

Soldiers cannot get a share code because they do not have Biometric Residence permits. Employers are supposed to accept a copy of the exempt stamp, this is stated clearly in the guidance in Home Office: Employer’s guide to right to work checks – see: 7. Annex A: Lists of acceptable documents for manual right to work checks, bullet point 4.

If employers need further confirmation of your status, they should visit GOV.UK: Check if a document allows someone to work in the UK for the online right to work check and answer questions 1 to 4 following the guidance in this document: Right to Work Checks Non-UK Service Personnel. The final screen will show that you are eligible to work and gives the employer a ‘continuous statutory excuse’.

Back to top

03   Can I still work if my BRP expired but I submitted an application to extend my leave prior to expiry?

Yes, but in these circumstances it is a different check that is required, your employer cannot use the online service above, they need to contact the Employer Checking Service (ECS) and will receive a Positive Verification Notice (PVN) usually within 5 working days. However, they will firstly need to wait for 14 days after the date of submission of the application in order for the application to be registered with the Home Office. You can legally continue working for up to 28 days from the date of expiry of your BRP whilst you are waiting for the PVN. It is very important that your employer understands this is a different check, if they use the one above it will say that you don’t have a valid BRP, see .gov.uk/employee-immigration-employment-status. The PVN will enable you to continue working for 6 months.

Back to top

04   Can my employer suspend me?

There should be no requirement for you to be suspended from work in any circumstance where you have made an in-time extension. It is your employer’s responsibility to conduct the required checks on time. The guidance says ‘To ensure that you do not discriminate against anyone, you should provide every opportunity to enable an individual to prove their right to work’. If you have been suspended or are being threatened with suspension you should contact us immediately.

Back to top

05   Can I continue working if I didn’t submit an application before my leave expired?

In most circumstances you will be considered an overstayer if you didn’t submit an application in-time. You are therefore not legally allowed to work until you have been granted valid leave. Please get in touch with us if you are in this situation.

Back to top

06   Further information

The full guidance can be found at gov.uk/government/publications/right-to-work-checks-employers-guide or get in touch with us if you have further questions fcsupport@aff.org.uk. We are more than happy to contact your employer if you are experiencing problems.

Forces Families Jobs

Forces Families Jobs is an employment and training platform specifically designed to support Service families into meaningful employment and provide opportunities for training and development.

I feel more confident following the information you've given me

Back to top

What our families say about AFF

“I truly appreciate the work that you all do.”

“Thank you for all the guidance and support. You have been amazing.”

“Your professionalism in this matter was more than welcoming”

Find out more
7,260enquiries received from Apr 23 to Mar 24
13,000+followers on Facebook
37,086website views in April
9,500+followers on X