[UPDATED] UK: Right to Work Checks Rules Updated

April 30, 2021

Note: This article was updated June 22, 2021, to reflect new information.

Key Points

  • Under the temporary changes that were instated on Mar. 30, 2020, employers have been able to carry out document checks through video calls and document scans instead of seeing original documents. 
  • Starting on Sept. 1, 2021, employers must check the employee’s physical documents to verify right to work status. An online share code can also be used. 
  • If a prospective or existing employee is unable to provide necessary documents, employers can use the UK’s Employer Checking Service. 
  • Starting Sept. 1, 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. 

Overview

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK Home Office instituted a temporary change to the right to work procedures, which allowed the checks to be carried out over video. The UK Home Office has announced that starting on Aug. 31, 2021, video calls will no longer be allowed, and standards will reset to pre-pandemic requirements. This date was previously June 20, 2021. 

Any right to work checks that were completed in between Mar. 30, 2020 and Aug. 31, 2021 do not need to be redone 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 UK Home office did announce that employers were going to have to perform retroactive right to work checks but they have since retracted this statement. The temporary date was updated from May 16, 2021 to June 20, 2021. 

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. 

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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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