Right to work checks: temporary changes and COVID-19

Right to Work checks have been temporarily adjusted to make it easier for employers to carry them out during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

As of 30 March 2020, the following temporary changes have been made:

  • checks can now 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

Conducting a right to work check during COVID-19

  • 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 status under the EU Settlement Scheme you can use (with the applicant’s permission to view their details) the online right to work checking service while doing a video call.

If the applicant or existing worker cannot show their documents, the employer must contact the Employer Checking Service. If the person has a right to work, the Employer Checking Service will send the employer a ‘Positive Verification Notice’. This provides an employer with a statutory excuse for six months from the date in the notice.