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Right to Work Checks – Changes from 17th May 2021.

On 20 April 2021, the Home Office announced that the temporary COVID-19 adjusted right to work will only remain in place until 16 May 2021.  This is in line with step 3 of the Government’s roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions in England. 

Fortunately, no retrospective checks are required in respect of employees who have commenced employment and had a COVID-19 adjusted check between 30 March 2020 and 16 May 2021.  This is welcome news for employers, as retrospective checks would have presented a big administrative challenge for many large organisations.

A summary of the key criteria is set out below.

  1. Temporary changes in place until until 16 May 2021

The following temporary changes were made on 30 March 2020:

  • identity checks can be carried out over video calls, rather than in person;
  • scanned documents or a photo of original documents sent via email or mobile app are acceptable, rather than originals.

What to do:

It is still necessary to check the prescribed documents set out on the Home Office website.  The original documents should be held up to the camera during the video call. The copy of the document must be marked, “Adjusted check undertaken on [date] due to COVID-19.”  It is an offence to knowingly employ anyone who does not have the right to work in the UK.

Discrimination risk:

Some individuals may find it difficult to show evidence of their right to work in the UK due to the pandemic.  It is important that employers take extra care to ensure that no one is discriminated against as a job applicant or employee because they are unable to provide original documents.

  • Rules on or after 17 May 2021

Employers will need to return to the practice of undertaking fully compliant right to work checks.  It is necessary to:

  • check the applicant’s original documents; or
  • check the applicant’s right to work on the Home Office website, if they’ve given their share code.

3.  Top tips

  • Review your right to work procedures and ensure that all relevant staff are familiar with the up-to-date position.
  • Put in place an internal policy for conducting right to work checks and circulate this to any relevant HR staff and others responsible for recruitment.

If you require any assistance with your right to work check processes and policies, please contact a member of Boardside.