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Home Office announces end to COVID-19 adjusted right to work checks

22 April 2021

The Home Office confirmed on 20 April 2021 that the COVID-19 adjusted right to work check process will only remain in place until 16 May 2021. Although employers will need to undertake fully compliant right to work checks from 17 May 2021, they will not have to carry out retrospective checks where the adjusted process has been used.

The Home Office guidance can be found here.

No retrospective checks required

The confirmation that retrospective checks will not be required will come as a relief to employers, and recognises the huge administrative task that would have been involved in doing this.

Employer reaction to the announcement

The ending of adjusted right to work process coincides with the planned implementation of step three of the Government’s roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions in England. However, many employees will continue to work either fully or predominantly from home beyond this date.

Many employers have expressed concern that the return to full compliance is premature and unworkable. We, along with other immigration practitioners, will be raising our clients’ concerns with the Home Office with a view to reaching a safer and less disruptive solution.

Tips for minimising adjusted checks and returning to fully compliant right to work checks when required

Whilst the appropriate arrangements will vary from business to business, we would suggest the following general approach for employers to ensure compliance whilst minimising the need for face-to-face right to work checks:

  • Determine an internal policy for conducting right to work checks on the assumption this will be required from 17 May 2021 and ensure all relevant recruitment, HR and any other staff responsible for carrying out right to work checks are made aware of this in good time
  • Use online right to work checks wherever possible (noting that the individual must be present at the time of the check, at least via live video link)
  • Put adequate resources in place to securely receive, review and return physical documents required for manual right to work checks, and consider conducting manual checks with the individual being present via live video link rather than face-to-face

If you require assistance with devising or reviewing your right to work check processes in response to adjusted checks ending or would like to raise any particular areas of concern for your business, please contact a member of our Immigration Team.

We will also be discussing right to work issues, in our webinar, ‘Right to work checks from 1 July 2021’. Register for the session here taking place on 24 June 2021.

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