Right to work virtual checks acceptability extended

The end date for the temporary adjusted checks has now been deferred to 5th April 2022 (inclusive).

The Home Office have made the decision to defer the date following the positive feedback received about the ability to conduct checks remotely. They initiated a review of the availability of specialist technology to support a system of digital right to work checks in the future. The intention is to introduce a new digital solution to include many who are unable to use the Home Office online checking service, including UK and Irish citizens. This will enable checks to continue to be conducted remotely with enhanced security.

Deferring the end date of the adjusted checks to 5th April 2022 ensures the Right to Work Scheme continues to operate in a manner which supports employers.

Updated advice for employers carrying out right to work checks during coronavirus (COVID-19) adjusted measures

The Home Office made the following temporary changes on 30th March 2020 and these now remain in place until 5th April 2022:

  • checks can currently be carried out over video
  • job applicants and existing workers can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app
  • employers should use the Home Office Employer Checking Service if a prospective or existing employee cannot provide any accepted documents

Employers must continue to check the documents set out in right to work checks: an employer’s guide or use the Home Office right to work online service. It remains an offence to knowingly employ anyone who does not have the right to work in the UK.

Checking an individual’s right to work using the temporary COVID-19 adjusted check measures

Up to and including 5th April 2022, when carrying out a temporary adjusted check, an employer must:

  • 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 – asking them to hold up the original documents to the camera and check them against the digital copy of the documents, record the date the check was made and mark it “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.

End of temporary adjustments

The temporary adjustments to right to work checks due to COVID-19 will end on 5th April 2022 (inclusive). New guidance is indicated as going to be issued ahead of 6th April 2022.

Online right to work service

The Home Office right to work online service gives the employer a defence against a civil penalty. There is no need to see or check the individual’s documents, as right to work information is provided in real time directly from Home Office systems.

Employers cannot insist individuals use this service or discriminate against those who choose to use their documents to prove their right to work.

Retrospective checks

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

Employers will maintain a defence against a civil penalty if the check undertaken was done in the prescribed manner or as set out in the COVID-19 adjusted checks guidance.

It remains an offence to work illegally in the UK. Any individual identified who is disqualified from working by reason of their immigration status, may be liable to enforcement action.

If the job applicant or existing worker cannot show their documents

Employers must contact the Home Office Employer Checking Service. If the person has a right to work, the Employer Checking Service will send you a ‘Positive Verification Notice’. This provides you with a statutory excuse for 6 months from the date in the notice.

PAYadvice.UK 1/9/2021

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