Carrying Out a Right to Work Check During the Pandemic (2021)

right to work check

As a result of the current pandemic, many employers now find themselves in a position where workers are hired through digital processes such as through phone and video calls. This in turn has prompted changes to right to work check by employers. Right to work checks are necessary requirements in checking if an employee has the right to work in the UK before starting employment. 

What has changed?

The following changes were put in place last year as of the 30th of March 2020 and will be implemented until the 16th May 2021:

  1. As many workers are now required to work remotely and many hiring processes are not able to be carried out in person, checks may now be carried out via video call.
  1. When job applicants or current employees are required to undergo a right to work check, scanned or photographed documents can be provided via email or through mobile apps depending on the preferences of the employer. 
  1. Where documents cannot be provided, employers can use the Employer Checking Service, where the home office will help to check the employment status. However employers should check the guidelines to see if they can apply for this service. 

How do I know if i can use the employer checking service?

The Employer Checking Service can be used for any worker where appeals, applications and reviews from the home office are outstanding. It may also be provided where an employee can provide an application registration card, a certificate of application (less than six months old) or when employees are identified as commonwealth citizens in the UK prior to 1998.

Right to work checks are a requirement by UK Law and it is a criminal offence for any employer to knowingly employ someone who does not have a right to work in the UK. 

How a right to work check can be carried out for 2021 using adjusted check measures

Until the 16th of May, the following procedures should be followed:

  1. Scanned or photographed copies of documents can be provided via email or through mobile apps as mentioned above. 
  1. Following this video calls should be arranged with the workers where documents can be held up to the camera to ensure that they are the same as the digital copies previously provided. Employers must take note of the date these checks were carried out and have them marked providing the date and being as a result of Covid- 19.

Employers should note that employees that can provide a biometric residence permit, a biometrics residents card or has been granted status from the EU settlement scheme or point based immigration system may use the right to work checking service during their video call.

What must be done at the end of the temporary adjustments (17th May 2021)

  • As of the 17th of May 2021 employers must go back and check the original documents provided by the employee or check their right to work online if a share code has been provided. 
  • Retrospective checks for those who had a Covid-19 adjusted check between 30th March 2020 and 16 May 2021 are not required. However, any employer whose right to work has been revoked as a result of an immigration status may be in danger of legal action if they fail to provide necessary documents. 

For any further questions regarding right to work checks or for other HR support, visit our website.