In March 2020 the government introduced adjustments to Right to Work Checks due to Covid-19.
However, these adjustments will be coming to an end on 16th May 2021. In this blog we explain the changes.
Since 30 March 2020, there have been temporary adjustments to the right to work checking process. The adjustments enable employers to carry out Right to Work Checks over video calls, and applicants to send scans or photos of documents instead of sending originals.
These temporary adjustments are ending. From 17 May 2021, employers will need to check the applicant’s original documents.
This means you must be in possession of the original documents while doing the document check. You can no longer accept a scan or photo, as this won’t provide you with a defence against a civil penalty.
Alternatively you have the option, where applicable, to check the applicant’s right to work online.
Using this online service means you can carry out the check via video call and don’t have to see physical documents, as right to work information is provided in real time directly from the Home Office’s systems.
The applicant must give you permission to see their details via a share code.
For more information, see the government’s Coronavirus (Covid-19): Right to Work Checks guidance.
Who can use the Home Office online right to work service?
This service can be used by those with a current Biometric Residence Permit or Card, status under the EU Settlement Scheme, status issued under the points-based immigration system, British National Overseas (BNO) visa, or Frontier workers permit.
Employers cannot insist that applicants use this service or discriminate against those who choose to use their documents to prove their right to work.
Why are the adjusted Right to Work checks coming to an end?
The ending of the Covid-19 adjusted Right to Work Checks on 16th May follows the government’s ‘roadmap’ to ease lockdown restrictions.
You can find more information about working safely during Covid-19 in the following government guidance:
Do I need to carry out retrospective checks on those who had an adjusted check?
No – there is 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 provided that any checks you’ve undertaken during this period have been carried out in the prescribed standard manner or as set out in the Covid-19 adjusted checks guidance.
However, any individual identified with no lawful immigration status in the UK may be liable to enforcement action.
If you have carried out an adjusted check on an employee with a time-limited right to work, and they require a follow-up check after 16 May 2021, you must make sure you undertake the follow-up check as set out in the Right to Work Check employer guidance.
Can I undertake an adjusted Right to Work Check on or before 16 May 2021 for an individual whose employment begins on or after 17 May 2021?
Yes – the temporary adjustments will remain in place until 16 May. However, you should take steps to ensure the integrity and security of your Right to Work Checks.
You may want to consider whether you can safely carry out standard Right to Work Checks (as set out in the Right to Work Check employer guidance we linked to above) in advance of the temporary measures coming to an end – particularly for those whose employment starts on or after 17 May 2021.
What if an applicant doesn’t have any documents or current documents to prove their right to work?
You should use the Employer Checking Service if a prospective or existing employee cannot provide the prescribed documents.
At this difficult time, it’s important not to draw conclusions about an individual’s right to work.
Does the criminal offence remain in force?
Yes, it remains an offence to knowingly employ an illegal migrant.
Carrying out Right to Work Checks with uCheck
At uCheck, we’re updating our HR Platform Right to Work toolkit to incorporate the Home Office online checking service, so you’ll be able to check applicants’ right to work online if they give you their share code.
Our updated system will be ready to go in July 2021 and will enable you to upload a screenshot of the applicant’s profile page from the Right to Work online service.
Get in touch with us today to find out more – we’re always happy to chat.Back to Blogs
Our blogs are advisory in nature and reflect uCheck Limited’s current thinking about best and common practice in the subjects discussed.
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