At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, taking into account the Government’s message to work from home where possible, the Home Office put in place temporary concessions allowing employers to carry out virtual right to work checks. Last month, the Home Office announced that these concessions would come to an end on 16 May, which meant that from 17 May employers would be required to carry out standard right to work checks again.
After much lobbying from businesses, sector organisations and law firms (including Penningtons Manches Cooper), the Home Office has delayed re-instating manual right to work checks. The temporary Covid-19 adjusted right to work checks will now end on 20 June 2021, and from 21 June 2021 employers will need to revert to standard right to work checks.
Between 30 March 2020 and 20 June 2021 employers can carry out ‘adjusted right to work checks’, which have involved the following steps:
If the applicant has a current biometric residence permit or biometric residence card, or has been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme or through the new online app, the employer can use the online right to work checking service to obtain proof of right to work for the individual. This can be done during a video call to confirm the individual’s identity, as long as the applicant has given permission to view their details.
From 21 June 2021, standard right to work checks will resume. Employers will therefore be required to either:
Employers will not need to carry out retrospective checks on anyone who had a Covid-19 adjusted check between 30 March 2020 and 20 June 2021. It however remains the case that right to work checks must be carried out before employment commences.
On the changes, head of immigration Pat Saini commented: “Whilst the UKVI announcement may seem in line with the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, many businesses continue to work remotely for both logistical and health and safety reasons. In addition new employees who are coming to the UK to start work on or after 21 June, and are required to quarantine, will not be able to attend an office to present their right to work check documents. Whilst the extension to the concession is welcome and demonstrates that the Home Office has listened to businesses, with the Government yet to announce the full lifting of restrictions and as many businesses are reviewing their need for office space and their working models, right to work checks need to be fit for purpose and take into account differing business operating models. We are therefore continuing to liaise with the Home Office on how the checks should operate in the future.”