COVID-19: right to work guidance updated and what it means for employers

Blog | Employment
Published: 23rd February 2022
Area: Corporate & Commercial

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The Home Office updated its Coronavirus (COVID-19): right to work check guidance yesterday (22 February 2022) – extending the end date for the temporary adjusted right to work checks from 5 April 2022 to 30 September 2022 (inclusive).

What are the adjusted measures?

The adjusted measures that were originally published on 30 March 2020 and will now be in place until 30 September 2022 (inclusive) include:

  • 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

  • Checks can be carried out over video calls with the employee holding up the original document to the camera, which is then checked against the digital copy. The digital copy should then be annotated ‘adjusted check undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19’

  • Employers should use the Home Office employer checking service if a prospective or existing employee cannot provide any of the accepted right to work documents

Employers should be aware it remains an offence to knowingly employ someone who does not have the right to work in the UK.

Why have the adjusted measures been extended?

At the end of 2021, the government announced its intention to enable employers and landlords to use certified Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT) service providers to carry out checks on their behalf, including for British and Irish citizens, from 6 April 2022.

Positive feedback has been received since this announcement and it is hoped deferring the adjusted measures end date will ensure employers have sufficient time to develop commercial relationships with identity providers.

What will be the benefit of the IDVT scheme?

Employers are encouraged to embrace the future digitalisation of right to work checks and plan the necessary changes to their current pre-employment on-boarding processes to ensure a smooth transition from existing practices.

IDVT service providers will need to be certified against robust rules and it is expected further information on the IDVT scheme and the list of certified providers will be published very soon.

What steps should I take now?

The Home Office believes the introduction of the IDVT scheme will mean employers can guarantee prospective employee's identities, using consistent and more secure methods, which will, in turn, reduce the risk of them employing illegal workers and allowing recruitment to continue in a safer way.

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