COVID-19: Home Office extends COVID-19 right to work check measures to 21 June

13 May 21

UNITED KINGDOM

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the Home Office put in place temporary measures in March of last year to allow “adjusted” right to work checks to be carried out over a video call using copies of original documents.

The Home Office announced this week that it would extend these temporary measures until June 21, 2021, after which employers are expected to return to the usual “pre-pandemic” right to work check processes. The temporary measures had previously been set to end on May 17.

Key Points:

  • The temporary measures will now remain in effect until June 21. Until then:
    • Checks on original documents (such as passports) can be carried out over video calls.
    • Job applicants and existing employees can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals.
    • Employers should use the Employer Checking Service if a prospective or existing employee cannot provide any of the accepted documents.
    • Employers can continue to carry out online right to work checks where it is possible to do so, e.g., if an applicant has an online status under the EU Settlement Scheme or holds a Biometrics Residence Permit and is able to provide a share code.
  • From June 21, employers must either:
    • Check the applicant’s original documents; or
    • Check the applicant’s right to work online, if they have provided a share code.
  • Employers do not need to carry out retrospective checks on those who had a COVID-19 adjusted check between March 30, 2020, and June 20, 2021 (inclusive).

Analysis & Comments: The extension of the temporary measures is positive news to employers who have been undertaking the adjusted right to work checks since March 30, 2020, and do not yet expect employees to return to the office from May 17, 2021. Employers are reminded, however, to consider the logistics around carrying out checks again under the normal requirements as return to office plans are finalized from June 21.

Employers must ensure they take note of the June 21 date for when the temporary adjustments for right to work checks are ending and put measures in place for applicants who are not able to generate a share code for an online right to work check.

For instance, for a British national with an original passport, the applicant would need to report to the office with the original passport in their possession from June 21. Alternatively, employers may be permitted to do a right to work check over a video call but only providing the employer is in possession of the original documents, as confirmed in the employer right to work guidance.

The guidance further confirms employers will maintain a defense against a civil penalty on any adjusted checks undertaken during this period, providing they were done as set out in the COVID-19 adjusted checks guidance.

The response to COVID-19 continues to develop, and Deloitte will provide additional updates as information becomes available.

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