News & Insights

Extension of temporary measures for ‘in person’ right to work checks

Temporary adjustments to stay in place until 5 April 2022.

Temporary changes to Right to work checks have been in place since 30 March 2020. These temporary adjustments have been extended until the 5 April 2022. The Home Office has published a helpful video, which can be found here.

Until the 5 April 2022 (inclusive) right to work checks can be carried out through:

  • video calls
  • job applicants and existing workers can send in scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals
  • Employer Checking Service should be used if a prospective or existing employee cannot provide any of the accepted documents

Carrying out temporary COVID-19 adjusted checks:

  • 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 – ask them to hold up the original documents to the camera and check them against the digital copy of the documents, record the date you made the check and mark it as “adjusted check undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19
  • 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 – the applicant must give you permission to view their details.

From 6 April 2022 onwards, employers will have to:

Some individuals may struggle to show evidence of their right to work in the UK because of the impact of COVID-19. Consequently, you will have to take extra care to ensure no-one is discriminated against as a job applicant or employee because they are unable to show you their documents. The code of practice for employers provides more information on this.

Please note that employers may use a live video feed of the applicant for a manual check provided they have their original documents, or an online check provided they view the status while the applicant is on the live video feed.

Retrospective checks

Employers will not need to carry out retrospective checks on those who had a COVID-19 adjusted check between 30 March 2020 and 5 April 2022 (inclusive).

It remains an offence to knowingly employ anyone who does not have the right to work in the UK. If the job applicant or existing worker cannot show their documents you must contact the Home Office Employer Checking Service.  If the person has a right to work, the Employer Checking Service will issue a ‘Positive Verification Notice’. This notice provides a statutory excuse for 6 months from the date in the notice.  Please print a copy of the notice for the employee’s file.

Employers who hire skilled migrants from January 2021 including Europe, will require a Sponsor Licence.

Links to new RTW guidance and draft code of practice on preventing illegal working.

If you have any questions about the contents of this article or if you need any assistance, please contact [email protected]  in the Immigration team.