End to Covid 19 Temporary Right to Work Measures Announced by Home Office
Last March (2020) the Home Office introduced COVID19 temporary right to work measures to ensure employers continued to comply with their statutory obligations. The Home Office has confirmed that these temporary measures will end on 17 May 2021.
This article explains:
- The adjusted COVID 19 checks that remain in place until 16 May 2021;
- How checks must be carried out after 17 May 2021; and
- Changes to rules on retrospective checks.
Until 16 May 2021, if you are unable to check applicants or employees’ original documentation you must carry out a temporary adjusted check as follows:
- 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 and ask them to hold up the original documents to the camera and check them against the digital copy of the documents. You must record the date you made the check and mark it as “adjusted check undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID19”
- If the worker has a current biometric residence permit or biometric residence card or has been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme or the points-based immigration system, you can use the online right to work checking service while doing a video call: online right to work checking service. It is important that you first obtain permission to view their details.
From 17 May 2021, the temporary right to work adjustments will end and you must either:
- Check the applicant’s original documents, or
- Check the applicant’s right to work online, if they have given you their shared code.
The updated Home Office guidance cautions against discrimination when carrying out checks and states “due to the impact of COVID19 some individuals may struggle to show evidence of their right to work in the UK. As a result, you must take care to ensure that no one is discriminated against as a job applicant or employee because they are unable to show you their documents.”
Retrospective checks no longer required
When the temporary COVID19 measures were introduced, employers were obliged to carry out follow up checks on any employee who had a COVID19 adjusted check, within 8 weeks of the temporary measures ending (16 May 2021). The Home Office has now advised that retrospective checks are no longer required.
Employers will maintain a defence against civil penalty if the check they have taken has been carried out in the prescribed manner or as set out in the COVID19 adjusted checks guidance.