The Government announced recently that the usual methods of conducting manual right to work checks must resume on 17 May 2021 and the current concession which has been in place since 30 March 2020 permitting checks to be undertaken remotely using video calls would be withdrawn.
Right to work checks concession extended
However, following concerns raised by employers and business groups, the concession has now been extended to 20 June 2021 (inclusive), just days before the concession was due to end. This is aligned with the easing of lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures, as set out in the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
From 21 June 2021, employers will have to resume carrying out a manual check on an applicant’s original right to work documents, either at a face-to-face meeting or via a live video link, as long as the original document itself has been sent to the employer by post. Sending documents in the post, particularly a sensitive personal document is unlikely to be appealing to many applicants, which means a face-to-face meeting, which again, may be difficult for some applicants who may continue to work from home after 20 June 2021 or are self- isolating.
What can employers do?
The COVID-19 concession, permits the employer to conduct the right to work check using a video call after inspecting a scanned copy or photograph of the original document. Alternatively, the applicant's right to work check can be carried out online, if appropriate (for example if they hold a Biometric Residence Permit or hold status under the EU Settlement Scheme).
Many employers will have spent time adapting their right to work verification processes for the purposes of the concession and may hope that the Government will look at ways to further digitise right to work checks in the post pandemic world.
The silver lining is that employers will not need to carry out retrospective checks on those who had a COVID-19 adjusted check between 30 March 2020-20 June 2021 inclusive. Employers will maintain a defence against a civil penalty if the check undertaken during this time was done in the prescribed manner or as set out in the COVID-19 adjusted checks guidance.
Contact our immigration team for advice on right to work checks.
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