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The concept of a share code check for identity checks as part of pre-employment screening is relatively recent in the UK, introduced by the government in July 2021. The idea of a share code is supposed to make life easier for Human Resources (HR) teams, by allowing them to quickly verify who someone is, and whether or not they have the right to live and work in the UK through a trusted government portal.

Only workers who were born overseas and who are not British citizens can get a share code to prove their immigration status and right to work in the UK. Employers must still have a procedure for checking the nationality and status of everyone working for them. In the case of UK passport holders, all that is needed is for the employer to note that they have seen a UK passport, and to note its number and expiry date.

What Is a Share Code?

A share code is as a unique identifier which allows employers to instantly verify a worker’s immigration status. Eligible workers first provide their documents and identifying information to the UK government who checks over their paperwork and allocates them a unique code. This code then allows potential employers to see the information held about the worker by the government and make sure they are employing someone legally.

After being allocated a share code, a potential employee only needs their date of birth and the share code number to prove their right to work in the UK. This process helps HR avoid unnecessary paperwork and delays as the government has already done the required checks on the worker concerned.

How Does a Share Code Check Work?

Not all workers in the UK who have a foreign passport are allowed to take part in the share code system. To be eligible, potential employees must have a biometric residence permit (BRP) number or visa, and a biometric residence card (BRC) number. If they meet these requirements, recruiters can then access the government database using the share code to instantly see the individual’s employment eligibility.

Getting a Right to Work Code

If you are a foreign national who is legally allowed to work in the UK under the terms of your visa, then going through the process of getting a Right to Work code could save a huge amount of time when it comes to applying for jobs. You will need to first visit the government website and give all the details of your identity documents including Biometric Residence Permit. Once approved, you can then use your share code as many times as you like.

Not all employers are up to speed with the share code system, and some may still ask you to bring in your documents to prove your right to work in the more traditional way. Digital verification of identity is still a new concept, and it may take some years until companies fully appreciate the advantages of doing things online.