Right to Work in the UK checks

(Updated 4th March 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 Covid changes to the Right to Work checks were due to come to an end on 16th May 2021, then delayed to 21st June, then to 31st August 2021: and at the last minute AGAIN this was changed to 5th April 2022; and in early March this was again changed to 30th September 2022!. 

Therefore employers can still make a video-call right to work check until 30.9.22.

Originally, the Government advised (that after the covid checking measures end) 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.  Digital checks are due to launch on 6th April 2022, for British and Irish Nationals.  However until 30.9.21, Employers will have the option to undertake right to work checks for British and Irish National, either manually (in person or by video call) or using the new digital “Identity Document Validation Technology”.  If the employer chooses to use IDVT they will need to engage a ‘certified private sector IDVT service provider’ (! or IDSP) to carry out these eligibility checks. The initial details of how the employer must legally interact with the IDSP, and the following process, will put most Employers off using it I would guess!

IDVT technology allows British and Irish nationals to confirm their identify and to prove they are eligible to work and rent and apply for DBS checks; by uploading images of their personal documents, instead of presenting physical documents to a prospective employer or landlord. 

At the moment, checks for British and Irish nationals, from 1.10.22, will have to be in person (not via video call) or using the IDVT.  This could change again of course!

From 6th April 2022 also, only digital right to work checks will be acceptable for most non-UK nationals – further information about that is here.  The existing online service is free, and can 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.

Further information will follow as the IDVT technology has not yet been released, 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.


Right to Work in the UK checks

You can read The HR Kiosk’s Guidance for Employers about Coronavirus here.

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