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Extension of digital right to work checks until April 2022: implications for employers

Right to work checks were made digital in March 2020 in response to the Covid 19 pandemic. This had two main advantages:

  1. allowing job applicants and workers to send over scanned documents or photos of documents;
  2. enabling checks to be carried out over video calls.

It had been the intention to reinstate full right to work checks on 1 September 2021, but, on 26 August 2021, the Government confirmed that these digital right to work checks will now remain in place until 5 April 2022.

Corporate bodies, including the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), had argued that digital checks have delivered a “more agile and robust process to get people into work” and championed this tool being retained post-pandemic.  They would like to see a permanent digital solution, which is something that the Government is working on.  Certainly, for Boardside, this would benefit many of our clients who have raised the question of what to do about new employees who will be working remotely, sometimes from different ends of the country.  Many businesses have adopted new technology during the pandemic, and have no intention of returning to traditional ways of working, certainly not across the board.

In the current environment of job shortages in many sectors across the UK in these unprecedented times, it is important that the Government does all it can to facilitate access to the jobs market, so that businesses do not get bogged down with unnecessary aspects of “red tape”.  Digital checks will enable people, for example from remoter rural areas, to undertake work that they would not otherwise be able to contemplate.

For tailored legal advice and support on immigration matters contact Nadine Marston or call Boardside on 0330 0949338