Home Office U-turn on Coronavirus Right to Work Checks

Posted in : Immigration and Employment Updates on 12 May 2021
Conor McCrory
Cleaver Fulton Rankin
Issues covered: Immigration and Employment; Right to Work checks

The Home Office have published a further update on right to work checks on 12 May 2021 making a complete U-turn in expecting employers to obtain physical documents such as a passport and/or BRP card to be sent for right to work checks for new hires.

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

The following temporary changes were made on 30 March 2020 and will now remain in place until 20 June 2021 (inclusive):

  • Right to work checks can be carried out over video calls
  • Job applicants and existing workers 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

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

Up to and including 20 June 2021, if you are carrying out a temporary adjusted check, you 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 – 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.

Opposition to the introduction of physical right to work checks has paid off with the Home Office delaying this requirement to at least after 20 June 2021. For many employers who will have made arrangements to get their HR teams and others safely into the office to conduct in-person (if socially distanced) right to work checks this will no longer be required.


This article is correct at 12/05/2021

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Conor McCrory
Cleaver Fulton Rankin

The main content of this article was provided by Conor McCrory. Contact telephone number is 028 9027 1722 or email c.mccrory@cfrlaw.co.uk

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