UNITED KINGDOM: New Guidance for Employers on the Adjusted Right to Work Checks During COVID-19

April 21, 2021

The UK Home Office has released an update to the guidance regarding the Right to Work checks for employees during COVID-19.

Previously, concessions were in place to allow employers to complete Right to Work checks virtually, during the UK wide lockdown – preventing many employees from attending their work offices as normal.

The UK Home Office has advised that employers do not need to carry out retrospective checks on those who had a COVID-19 adjusted check between 30 March 2020 and 16 May 2021 (inclusive). Employers will maintain a defence against a civil penalty if the check they have undertaken during this period was done in the prescribed manner or as set out in the COVID-19 adjusted checks guidance.

However, employers are expected to revert back to the usual Right to Work checks from 17 May 2021, which include:

  • Checking the applicant’s original documents; or
  • Checking the applicant’s right to work online, if they have provided a share code

It is understood that the COVID-19 concessions will apply to all Right to Work checks completed before 17 May 2021, regardless of whether the employee starts after this date.

Therefore, employers will need to have a process in place in order to carry out this requirement, especially if they do not plan to open their offices as normal from this date.

Newland Chase has contacted the UK Home Office seeking further clarification given the challenges many companies will face in this regard and await further guidance from them in regards to any flexibility for companies who may still be working remotely when the new measures come into force.

Employers are reminded that should an employee with a time-limited right to work require a follow-up check after 16 May 2021, they must ensure the follow up check follows the pre-COVID-19 Right to Work check guidance.

Our Advice

Companies who may be affected are advised to contact a Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.

For general advice and information on immigration and business travel to the UK, please contact us.