Home Office announce the ending of the temporary Coronavirus concessions for right to work checks on 16 May 2021
Over the past year the government introduced temporary measures to help employers carry out their obligatory right-to-work checks, given the global pandemic and the COVID-19 restrictions which have meant that it has not been possible to verify physically, and in person, the required documents.
On 20 April 2021 the Home Office updated its guidance (Coronavirus (COVID-19): the right to work check) and announced that these temporary measures will cease from 17 May 2021.
Key changes to the Coronavirus (COVID-19): right to work checks guidance
At the start of the pandemic, right to work checks were temporarily adjusted so that employers could perform such checks remotely over video calls, and prospective employees and current staff could then send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending their originals.
From 17 May 2021 these temporary concessions will end and employers must return to in-person checking of hard-copy documentation where use of the online right to work checking service is not possible.
How will these changes effect employers?
Consequently, employers could find themselves in a difficult position. The government has specifically stated in their official coronavirus guidance that employees should be ‘working from home, wherever possible’, until at least 21 June 2021. However, employees who are able to undertake their role remotely may feel that they are being forced to return to the office in order to allow compliance with the physical right-to-work checking process.
For the moment, EEA and non-EU nationals are not affected in the same way as they still have access to online right-to-work checking services. By contrast, British nationals may be worse off as currently British passports cannot be digitally verified.
Please contact our Immigration team for further advice regarding these changes, and information on conducting right to work checks from 17 May 2021.