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COVID-19 concession for Right to Work checks coming to an end

What is changing?

On 20 April 2021, the UK government confirmed that the concession introduced to help manage Right to Work checks (RTW), during COVID, will end on 17 May 2021*. 

Additionally they confirmed it will no longer be necessary to undertake retrospective checks on those employees whose Right to Work check was conducted under the concession (originally proposed this would need to be conducted within 8 weeks of the concession ending).  

Whilst the removal of the requirement to undertake retrospective checks will be welcomed, employers will still need to consider how best to manage Right to Work checks from 17 May 2021 onwards given that many will be still operating primarily on a remote basis.

How can I manage this change?

How should checks be undertaken from 17 May 2021? 

Right to Work checks will revert to the standard process whereby a check needs to be conducted in one of the following two ways:

  • Via an online Right to Work check; or
  • Review the original documents in person (manual check); 

How do I undertake an online Right to Work check?

The individual first views their own Home Office right to work record, and then shares this, via a unique code, with their employer. Employers must then check that the photo online is the individual presenting themselves and retain evidence of check (via a download).

Currently the online checking service only supports checks for those who hold: 

  • a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP);
  • a Biometric Residence Card (BRC); 
  • status issued under the EU Settlement Scheme;
  • status issued under the new Points-Based immigration system (i.e. an electronic visa); 
  • a British National Overseas (BNO) visa; or 
  • a Frontier Workers Permit.

If an individual does not wish to demonstrate their right to work using the online service, you must offer a manual check. 

How do I undertake Right to Work checks where the online system cannot be used?

Where the online system cannot be used, manual checks should be undertaken.  

What if the person is not able to come to an office to provide physical documents? 

This can be done via live video link, however the employer must be in possession of the holder's original documents, e.g. the individual will need to send their original documents by secure delivery to their employer. 

Why are the temporary adjusted right to work checks ending now? 

The ending of the COVID-19 adjusted Right to Work checks on 17  May follows the Government’s roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions.

Can I carry out an adjusted check on or before 16 May 2021 if an individual’s employment begins on or after 17 May 2021?

Yes – the temporary adjustments to Right to Work checks will remain in place until 16 May 2021. 

Will I be liable for a civil penalty if I have only undertaken an adjusted check?

No, provided this was conducted between 30 March 2020 and 16 May 2021 (inclusive) and was carried out in the prescribed manner or as set out in the COVID-19 adjusted checks guidance. 

Should an employee with a time-limited right to work require a follow-up check after 16 May 2021, you must ensure the follow-up check is undertaken either via the online system or manually. 

What if an individual does not have any or current documentation to prove their Right to Work?

Employers should use the Employer Checking Service if a prospective or existing employee cannot provide any prescribed document.


*As a reminder, under this COVID19 concession, it was not necessary to see original documents (e.g. passports) and employers could rely on seeing an electronic copy of the document combined with a video call with the individual. 


What this means for you as an employer

For a deeper discussion of how this impacts your business, please contact us

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