There have been two recent developments in relation to right to work checks that will be welcomed by employers and late applicants to the EU Settlement Scheme.
EEA nationals: right to work checks update
The right to work checks regime has seen many changes in recent years. In yet another significant development, on 6 August 2021, the Government announced that EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members who submitted a late application to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) will now be provided with protection of their rights in the UK until their application is determined, to include any appeal against a decision to refuse status under the EUSS.
‘Employer right to work checks supporting guidance (version 31 August 2021)’, provides further details as follows:
… those who apply from 1 July 2021, and joining family members, will have their rights protected while their application is determined. This guidance reflects this change.
EUSS applicants and joining family members will now be able to take up new employment while they await the outcome of their application. Home Office guidance remains that where a prospective employee has a Certificate of Application (CoA) confirming a valid application to the EUSS made on or after 1 July 2021, employers should verify this with the Home Office Employer Checking Service (ECS).
Covid Concession right to work checks extended further
The Home Office updated guidance states that, following the positive feedback received, the decision was made to extend the temporary measures introduced in March 2020.
These are now to remain in place until 5 April 2022 (inclusive). By way of reminder, the adjusted process is as follows:
- it allows for checks to be carried out over video calls
- individuals subject to the check can send copies of the acceptable documents using email or a mobile app; alternatively if the individual has a current BRP/BRC or status under the EUSS, the employer can use the online right to work checking service in the usual way, as long as the individual has given their permission.
There is no need to repeat checks carried out using the coronavirus adjusted measures retrospectively, once the temporary measures come to an end.
The Home Office guidance of 26 August 2021, Coronavirus (COVID-19): right to work checks – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) also talks about plans to update the right to work procedures which is welcome news, particularly with regards to UK citizens who so far have been missing out on the online checking service:
We initiated a review of the availability of specialist technology to support a system of digital right to work checks in the future. The intention is to introduce a new digital solution to include many who are unable to use the Home Office online checking service, including UK and Irish citizens. This will enable checks to continue to be conducted remotely but with enhanced security.
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