(Updated 12th January 2022) The Government announced on 30th March 2020 that there would be changes to Right to Work in the UK checks, during the Coronavirus pandemic. You can read the details here and here are the important details (directly quoted).
As of 30 March 2020 the following temporary changes have been made:
- checks can now 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 Employer Checking Service if a prospective or existing employee cannot provide any of the accepted documents
Checks continue to be necessary and you must continue to check the prescribed documents listed in right to work checks: an employer’s guide. It remains an offence to knowingly employ anyone who does not have the right to work in the UK.
Conducting a right to work check during the temporary COVID-19 measures
- 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 status under the EU Settlement Scheme 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
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.
After the COVID-19 measures end
The changes to the Right to Work checks were due to come to an end on 16th May 2021, this was changed to 21st June, and at the last minute was changed to 31st August 2021: and at the last minute AGAIN this was changed to 5th April 2022. Originally, after 5th April 2022, the Government advised you should follow the checking process set out in right to work checks: an employer’s guide and carry out a manual right to work check using original documents (or an online right to work check where this is available, for this with Biometric Residence Permits or Cards, a Frontier Worker permit or an EU Settlement Scheme status). However, in early January 2022, the Government announced that digital right-to-work checks are to be made permanent (after 5th April 2022). Further information will follow but it is understood that the cost of the digital checks is to be funded by employers, with an individual check for UK Nationals costing between £1.45 and £70 each. The existing free online service can continue to be used for applicants from overseas, who have a Biometric Residence Card or Permit or a Frontier Worker Permit or an EU Settlement Scheme status. The online service will be expanded to checks on UK Nationals and ‘may be ready’ in time for 6th April!