1st October 2022 - significant changes to right to work checks

Published: October 3rd, 2022

7 min read

After numerous extensions, the Home Office have announced that the temporary COVID-19 adjusted right to work checks will end on 30 September 2022 (inclusive).

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Home Office permitted the adjusted right to work checks to be carried out from March 2020 to support business during the difficult time, where many employees were working remotely, and has lasted for over two years.

The adjusted checks allowed employers to carry out right to work checks remotely over video calls instead of in person and photographs and scanned copies of identification documents could be accepted.

From 1 October 2022, employers must conduct right to work checks in one of the following ways:

  • A Home Office online check - this check is now mandatory for all Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) Card and Frontier Worker Permit holders;
  • A manual check - checking the physical, original document in the presence of the employee (a manual check should now only be used for employees who are not within the scope of the online service);
  • By using an identity service provider.

Identity Service Providers:

In April 2022, the government introduced legislation to allow accredited Identity Service Providers (IDSPs) to complete the identity verification elements of right to work checks involving British and Irish citizens. Guidance in relation to ISPS's and a list of certified bodies can be found on the government website at: Digital identity certification for right to work, right to rent and criminal record checks - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Retrospective Checks:

The Home Office has confirmed that there is no need for employers to retrospectively check the right to work of employees appointed using the COVID-19 adjusted check between 30 March 2020 and 30 September 2022 (inclusive).

Employers will maintain a defence against civil penalties if the check that they have undertaken between 30 March 2020 and 30 September 2022 (inclusive) was conducted in the prescribed manner as set out in the official Home Office guidance.

Take steps now:

It is important that employers take action now to implement an effective system to ensure that all right to work checks are performed in time and compliantly. The key take away from this article is that checks via a video call are no longer acceptable and will NOT establish a statutory excuse.

If you have any queries in relation to right to work checks, or would like to discuss the possibility of us carrying out an audit of your current processes, please contact our Business Immigration team at immigration@forbessolicitors.co.uk

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