UK: Right to Work Checks Rules Updated

April 30, 2021

Overview

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.K. Home Office instituted a temporary change to the right to work procedures, which allowed the checks to be carried out over video. The U.K. Home Office has announced that starting on May 16, 2021 video calls will no longer be allowed and standards will set to pre-pandemic.

Key Points

  • Under the temporary changes that were instated on March 30, 2020, employers have been able to carry out document checks through video calls and document scans instead of seeing original documents.  
  • Starting May 17, 2021, employers must check the employee’s physical documents to verify right to work status. An online sharecode can also be used.  
  • If a prospective or existing employee is unable to provide necessary documents, employers can use the U.K.’s Employer Checking Service.  
  • After May 17, 2021, certain exceptions are available for some online right to work checks. For example, if an employee holds an online status under the EU Settlement Scheme or a Biometric Residence Permit and can provide a share code, physical document verification isn’t required.

Any right to work checks that were completed between March 30, 2020, and May 16, 2021, do not need to be re-done due to the adjusted measures that were taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What Are the Changes?

The rules for employers conducting right to work checks are reverting to pre-pandemic expectations. Please note that the U.K. Home office did announce that employers were going to have to perform retroactive right to work checks, but they have since retracted this statement.

Looking Ahead

Employers should expect to have in-person right to work checks in the near future and should implement the appropriate processes to do so.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.

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