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Right to Work Checks – Changes to Government Guidance

The government has updated its guidance which was issued on 20 April, to confirm that the temporary COVID-19 adjusted right to work check process will now remain in place until 20 June 2021 (previously 16 May 2021). It enables employers to carry out right to work checks over video calls (rather than in person), and it allows job applicants to send scanned copies of identity documents (rather than provide originals). This is aligned with the easing of lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures.

The guidance states that employers will not have to carry out retrospective checks, i.e. will not have to request copies of original documents from those engaged in the last 15 months, once the adjusted right to work checks end. Until 20 June 2021 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.

From 21 June 2021 Employers must either: Check the applicant’s original documents; orCheck the applicant’s right to work online, if they have provided their share code.

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.
– 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.

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