Coronavirus: Adjusted Right to Work Checks

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Coronavirus: Adjusted Right to Work Checks

All UK employers have a legal obligation to comply with legislation which is intended to prevent illegal working. Employers are required to conduct document checks on every UK based employee to ensure that they have a legal right to work in the UK. Conducting a right to work check is sometimes an employer’s only defence to any claims which may be levied against them in respect of illegal working.
Usually right to work checks will involve face to face interaction but as an emergency measure during the COVID-19 crisis, the Home Office has relaxed some of the normal requirements. With effect from last week the Home Office has advised that right to work checks can now be conducted by video link.
Under the new, temporary rules, employers can ask workers to submit digital copies of their identification documentation, by email or an appropriate app, rather than having to provide the original document in person. The employer is then to verify the individual’s ID via a video call by asking the individual to show the original document during the call and to satisfy that the person on the call is the same person in the ID.
If the documentation can be verified, the employer should keep a record of the check by marking it with the following words, as prescribed by the Home Office: “adjusted check undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19”. If the individual cannot provide an acceptable form of documentation, the employer is to use the Home Office’s online Employer Checking Service and await a Positive Verification Notice where the worker has valid Right to Work.
Those that require a follow-up Right to Work check using the emergency measures should be marked as: “the individual’s contract commenced on [insert date]. The prescribed right to work check was undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19.”
Once the Home Office has advised that the temporary measures have been lifted and the usual requirements apply, employers will then have 8 weeks to perform a standard Right to Work check on those employees who had been subject to the adapted verification process.
If you have any questions about the adjusted Right to Work checking process please contact our Head of Employment Law and Business Immigration, Charlotte Geesin at

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