More Candidates Using 'Share Code' as Proof of Right to Work

November 17, 2021

We have observed a sharp rise in the number of candidates presenting ‘share codes’ as evidence of Right to Work. Not too surprising considering over 4 million EU nationals have applied for either settled or pre settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, but are your recruitment teams familiar with how to process a Right to Work check when presented with a share code?

Share codes are new and a Right to Work check needs to be conducted differently. Employers may rightly regard the process as more involved than checking Biometric Cards or Passports documentation and to help we have outlined below the care points.

Firstly, employers must tread carefully not to fall foul of employment and anti-discrimination laws. Before the 1st July 2021 you must not ‘INSIST’ that candidates present a share code; candidates can use all existing acceptable documents (e.g. passports or national ID cards etc) and you must not discriminate against them.

However, from the 1st July 2021 EU and Swiss Nationals (except Republic of Ireland) who have settled or pre settled status will no longer be allowed to use passports and national ID cards as proof of Right to Work. EU nationals who have not been granted settled or pre settled status will require a Visa under the new points based immigration system.

Secondly, let's consider the process:

  • The candidate requests a ‘share code’ via the Home Office online website to demonstrate their status to a new or existing employer
  • The code is only valid for 30 days from the time of request; you will need to conduct the check within this timeframe or the candidate will have to provide another share code
  • The candidate supplies the employer with the share code
  • Whether by email or written on a post-it note, the employer needs to copy the share code accurately as well as ascertaining the candidate’s date of birth which is necessary for the Home Office system to return confirmation of their Right to Work
  • You must use the Home Office online service to conduct the check; ONLY the employer can go online to view and download the candidate’s proof by inputting the share code, date of birth and company name. Assuming the details are accurate, the Home Office website returns a result on screen and a link to download and retain PDF of the check
  • The company name is for audit purposes. Given the candidate can use the same share code with multiple employers, it confirms that you have not relied on a copy supplied by the candidate. You CANNOT rely on the candidate to offer you a copy of the result - this is non-compliant
  • Check their is a facial match with the candidate and what you view online
  • You need to ensure the candidate is not an imposter, Rightcheck uses facial recognition to undertake the comparison
  • Check to see if the check has an expiry date (i.e. pre settled status) in which case the date must be recorded and a further check undertaken prior to expiry
  • Rightcheck will track this date and alert you in advance of expiry
  • Retain a copy of the PDF document
  • Rightcheck allows you to upload this to the candidate's record

With use of the government’s online share code system for accessing Right to Work Share Code becoming more prevalent, Rightcheck have introduced a new feature to streamline and automate the lengthy process for employers. Click here to find out more.

Should you have any concerns about processing share codes, or your organisation's approach to Right to Work checks, do not hesitate to contact us for further guidance at