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Right to Work Checks: Covid-19 Adjustments Extended

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Right to Work Checks: Covid-19 Adjustments Extended

Not entirely unexpectedly, the government has confirmed that the temporary adjustments made to the Right to Work checking process introduced to overcome some of the issues presented by Covid-19, has been extended to 5 April 2022.
The extension means that employers can continue to carry out remote right to work checks and that:

  • checks can 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

Employers should use the Home Office Employer Checking Service if a prospective or existing employee cannot provide any of the accepted documents
Checks continue to be necessary and employers must continue to check the prescribed documents set out in “Right to work checks: An Employer’s Guide” or use the Home Office right to work online service. It remains an offence to knowingly employ anyone who does not have the right to work in the UK.

Carrying out Remote Checks

If you are carrying out a temporary adjusted check, you must:

  • ask the worker to submit a scanned copy or a photo of their original documents via email or using a mobile app
  • arrange a video call with the worker – ask them to hold up the original documents to the camera and check them against the digital copy of the documents, record the date you made the check and mark it as “adjusted check undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19”
  • if the worker has a current Biometric Residence Permit or Biometric Residence Card or has been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme or the points-based immigration system you can use the online right to work checking service while doing a video call – the applicant must give you permission to view their details.
Online right to work service

The Home Office right to work online service gives an employer a defence against a civil penalty. You don’t need to see or check the individual’s documents, as right to work information is provided in real time directly from Home Office systems.
Employers cannot insist individuals use this service or discriminate against those who choose to use their documents to prove their right to work.

Retrospective checks

You do not need to carry out retrospective checks on those who had a Covid-19 adjusted check between 30 March 2020 and 5 April 2022 (inclusive). This reflects the length of time the adjusted checks have been in place and supports business during this difficult time
You will maintain a defence against a civil penalty if the check you have undertaken during this period was done in the prescribed manner or as set out in the Covid-19 adjusted checks guidance. It remains an offence to work illegally in the UK. Any individual identified who is disqualified from working by reason of their immigration status, may be liable to enforcement action.

If the job applicant or existing worker cannot show their documents

You must contact the Home Office Employer Checking Service. If the person has a right to work, the Employer Checking Service will send you a ‘Positive Verification Notice’. This provides you with a statutory excuse for 6 months from the date in the notice.

If you require any support with your right to work checks or, want to understand what this latest government announcement means for you please contact Charlotte Geesin, Head of Employment Law and Business Immigration on 01274 864999.

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