Adjustments to employer right to work checks, which were made due to COVID 19, have been extended once again from 1st September 2021 and will now continue until 5th April 2022.
It is a legal requirement for all UK employers to check that a job applicant is allowed to work in the UK before employing them and these changes affect the procedural requirements and evidence required to verify these checks have taken place.
At the outset of the COVID pandemic, the Home Office made temporary changes to the right to work rules that allowed employers to conduct checks through video calls as opposed to in-person checks of physical and original documents when on-boarding new joiners.
This has now been extended for the third time, allowing employers to continue carrying these out virtually where preferred. This is a more practical option for many where remote and hybrid working is still ongoing and business are still being encouraged to continue to support staff to work from home where possible and appropriate.
Based on the most recent announcement, the adjusted right to work checks will now end on 5 April 2022, requiring employers to again comply with the right to work check regulations that were in force prior to 30 March 2020.
So what is now changing from April 2022?
In practice, this will again mean either checking the applicant’s original documents or checking the applicant’s right to work online if they have provided a share code under the Settlement Scheme, as after that date accepting a scanned copy or a photo of original documents will no longer provide a defence against a civil penalty should the employee not have a right to work in UK.
There will be no requirement to carry out retrospective checks on those who had a COVID-19 adjusted check between 30 March 2020 and 5 April 2022 (inclusive).
The Home Office are understood to be reviewing secure technology options to support a wider system of digital right to work checks in the future, including for UK and Irish citizens who do not currently have share codes, hence the requirement to check documents. Should this be rolled out ahead of April 2022, we may see further changes and guidance announced.
Further Information and Support
Purpose HR support our clients with compliance and managing new employee paperwork and onboarding. If you would like any practical guidance, a review of your current process or a copy of our Employer Guidance and a copy of our updated right to work document checklist which outlines what documents count towards providing an employee’s right to work, please get in touch with our HR team firstname.lastname@example.org
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