Christobell Kamdaya contacted AFF after being suspended by her employer because her visa had expired. She had made an in-time application so was, in fact, eligible to remain working. She contacted AFF and we wrote to her employer, but received no response. She’s now found employment elsewhere.

Similarly, Samjhana contacted us after her employer asked her for evidence of her right to work. Her Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) had expired, but she had submitted an in-time application to extend it so was eligible to continue working. AFF contacted the employer to explain the verification process and Samjhana returned to work.

These are just some of the employment-related issues that are highlighted to AFF on a regular basis. What’s more, the rules around your right to work in the UK as a non-UK spouse have recently changed. AFF F&C Specialist Katherine Houlston, tells you what you need to know…

Your spouse visa gives you a right to work in the UK. If you don’t have the right to work, your visa or BRP states this. Spouses on visit visas cannot work.

Can I work if I have Indefinite Leave to Enter/ Remain as a stamp in my valid passport?

Yes. Your employer should accept this as proof of your right to work. However, if your passport has expired they will need to conduct an online check. You no longer need to apply for a BRP first.

How does an employer check my right to work if I have a BRP?

From 6 April 2022 it’s no longer possible for your employer to conduct a manual right to work check if you have a BRP. They have to check online. Request a ‘share code’ at to-work to pass on to them.

I’m an EEA national, how can I prove my right to work?

If you have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme your employer will need to conduct an online check as in step 2. If you applied for leave under the EUSS but it has not yet been granted, your employer will need to see your Certificate of Application and will have to request a Positive Verification Notice (PVN) through the Employer Checking Service.

Can I still work if I submitted an application to extend my leave prior to my BRP expiring?

Yes, but in these circumstances it’s a different check that is required. Your employer cannot use the online service in step 2, they need to contact the Employer Checking Service and will receive a PVN, usually within five working days. It’s very important that your employer understands this is a different check. If they use the check in step 2, it will say that you don’t have a valid BRP – gov. uk/employee-immigrationemployment- status

Can my employer suspend me?

Not if you’ve made an in-time extension. It’s your employer’s responsibility to do the checks on time. They are able to continue to employ you for up to 28 days without a PVN.

The guidance to employers 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’.

Can I still work even if I didn’t submit an application before my leave expired?

In most circumstances you’ll be considered an overstayer. 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.

AFF is keen to ensure that employers are aware of their responsibilities towards non- UK employees. Get in touch if you have further questions:

Picture credit: macrovector/

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