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Right to work checks to change from 17 May 2021


When the COVID-19 lockdowns started and many people began working from home, changes were made to the right to work scheme to accommodate the shift. As the UK now moves towards unlocking social restrictions, right to works checks will also be returning to ‘normal’.

What concessions were made?
Rather than needing a face-to-face check of an original document, since 30 March 2020, right to work checks have been permitted over video calls without original documents being seen.

“This has allowed job applicants and existing workers to send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app.” UKVI COVID concession guidance
These adjustments were only ever intended to be temporary, specifically allowing for decreased social contact during COVID-19.

What will be changing?
The temporary adjustments are now ending. Employers will once more be required to check the applicant’s original documents. Unrelated to the pandemic, an alternative will be to check the applicant’s right to work online if the individual has the appropriate share code for that facility. This is something that will be increasingly used as EU nationals with residence rights under the EU Settled Status Scheme only have online means of confirming their status.

When will changes take effect?
The reintroduction of original checks will be on 17 May 2021, the same day that indoor mixing is permitted again in England. Employers should note that this is still several weeks before the official end of the work from home directive, and therefore additional arrangements may be needed to conduct compliant right to work checks while home working remains common.

Do I need to see the original documents for those I’ve previously checked over videocall?
No. As per Home Office guidance,

“there will be no requirement to carry out retrospective checks on those who had a COVID-19 adjusted check between 30 March 2020 and 16 May 2021 (inclusive). You will maintain a defence against a civil penalty if the check you have undertaken during this period was done in the prescribed manner or as set out in the COVID-19 adjusted checks guidance.”

If you would like to speak to one of our experts concerning the right to work, call us now on 0161 234 6800.