Employers have a statutory duty to prevent illegal working and must carry out certain checks to ensure employees have the right to live and work in the UK. Temporary changes to right to work checks, in place since 30 March 2020, have facilitated right to work checks being carried out by prospective employees sending scanned copies of compliant ID documents via email, followed by a confirmatory ID video call.
As in pre-Covid times, employers also have the right where eligible and with the employee’s consent, to conduct right to work checks online using the Home Office portal.
The temporary changes were due to end on 31 August 2021, requiring employers to reinstate previous requirements to check and document an employee’s right to work. However, the UK Home Office announced on 26 August 2021 that the temporary changes to the right to work checks will remain in place until 5 April 2022.
Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-house Counsel
Employers will not need to reinstate previous requirements to check and document an employee’s right to work before 6 April 2022.
Given that the Home Office acknowledged that businesses are happy with the adjusted process, there may be scope for a further extension of the temporary rules if the new digital solution is not available by 5 April 2022.