Right to Work in the UK Checks – changes and further extension of COVID adjusted measures until 5 April 2022
Following our earlier updates, the position continues to evolve and the Home Office has granted a further extension to the adjusted procedure (in response to the Coronavirus pandemic) to complete Right to Work in the UK Checks.
With the easing of restrictions and social distancing measures the temporary COVID-19 adjusted Right to Work Checks were initially due to end on 31 August 2021. The Government has however now extended the relaxation in the rules (initially brought in on 30 March 2020 in response to the Coronavirus pandemic) until 5 April 2022.
From 6 April 2022, employers will revert to face-to-face and physical original document checks. This will ensure employers have sufficient notice to put measures in place to enable appropriate checks. Checks will have to be completed in person (or via a live video conference in certain circumstances), and at the same time the original documents must be in the physical possession of the employer, to inspect that they are valid.
The following temporary changes will still be open to employers to use until 5 April 2022:
- checks can currently be carried out over video calls;
- job applicants and existing workers can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals; and
- you should use the Employer Checking Service if a prospective or existing employee cannot provide any of the accepted documents.
The Home Office has at the same time indicated its future plans for the new April 2022 regime, announcing:
“The end date for the temporary adjusted checks has now been deferred to 5 April 2022 (inclusive). We have made the decision to defer the date following the positive feedback we received about the ability to conduct checks remotely. 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. Deferring the end date of the adjusted checks to 5 April 2022 ensures the Right to Work Scheme continues to operate in a manner which supports employers, whilst we look to implement a long-term, post-pandemic solution.”
We will keep you updated when the future plans are finalised. It is an importance area of HR compliance and there are extensive civil and criminal liabilities if a business employs individuals that they knew, or had reasonable cause to believe, did not have the right to work in the UK.
If you require any support with completing Right to Work in the UK Checks: for your new starters/repeat checks, or following a TUPE transfer or corporate acquisition, or wider business immigration support, please contact Tim Copplestone.