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Right to work checks: end of COVID-19 temporary changes

On 20 June 2021 the COVID-19 right-to-work concession allowing employers to carry out right-to-work checks by video call, mobile app or email will end.

At the end of March 2020, the Home Office acknowledged the difficulties employers would face during the pandemic (by continuing to require in-person sight of the relevant documentation from job seekers) and made a temporary change allowing scan copies to be used or video calls with prospective employees. These measures allowed employers some flexibility while checking someone’s right-to-work credentials and provided a ‘statutory’ excuse against any potential illegal working claims. This concession ends on 20 June (originally it was to end on 17 May) meaning that employers must revert to conducting full right-to-work checks from 21 June 2021.

This entails either checking the applicant’s original documents in person or checking their right to work online (for those holding biometric residence permits or holding status under the EU settlement scheme or points-based system). If it’s not possible for an employer to check the original documents in person, the applicant can post these to the employer who should check the physical original documents whilst conducting a live video call with the applicant.

Employers will not have to conduct retrospective checks on those people who were subject to the COVID-19-adjusted regime between 30 March 2020 and 20 June 2021.