In extremely welcome news, the Home Office has recently announced that the Covid-19 adjustment to the Right to Work (“RTW”) check process has been extended again. Surprisingly, it has now been extended to 5 April 2022. This is a move that is very much welcomed by employers, particularly in view of the new hybrid working model a number of employers are now implementing. The Home Office has stated that it has extended the concession following positive feedback received from employers.
Employers may, therefore, continue to check someone’s RTW by either of the following ways:
- remotely, by comparing an electronic or paper copy of the individual’s RTW documents whilst on a video call with them. The employer must record the date the check is made and mark it as “adjusted check undertaken on [insert date] due to Covid-19;
- with the individual’s permission, using the online RTW service if the individual has one of the following:
- Biometric Residence Permit; or,
- Biometric Residence Card; or,
- status under either the EU Settlement Scheme or the Points Based System.
The employer will need the employee on a video call at the time of using the online RTW check service.
As a reminder, employers are required to carry out the RTW check on:
- all new employees before they start work; and,
- all existing employees who have time limited immigration permission which enables them to undertake their role in the UK. The check must be undertaken shortly before their status expires to ensure they have either obtained, or applied for, further immigration permission to enable them to continue to work in the UK.
The Home Office also announced that it is analysing its existing systems and intends to introduce a new digital solution that will enable employers to utilise it for many who are unable to use the Home Office online checking service, such as British and Irish nationals. The Home Office intends that, in the future, employers will be able to continue to make checks remotely but with enhanced security. Whether this will be in place by 5 April 2022 remains to be seen, but we recommend employers check the position in March 2022. Employers should ensure that they are prepared to revert to the full RTW check process should the Covid-19 adjustment end on 5 April 2022 without the new digital system being in place.
Finally, the Home Office has confirmed that employers will not be required to carry out full RTW checks retrospectively where a Covid-19-adjusted check was carried out whilst the concession was in force during the period 30 March 2020 and 5 April 2022 (inclusive).