During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Home Office permitted temporary adjusted right to work checks to be carried out, which allowed photographs or scanned copies of identification documents to be checked (rather than physical, original documents). This meant that checks could be carried out remotely over video calls instead of in person.

These adjusted checks will end on 30 September 2022, meaning that from 1 October 2022 employers must conduct right to work checks in one of three ways:

  • An online check (this is mandatory for all Biometric Residence Permits/Cards and Frontier Work Permit holders);
  • A manual check (for example checking the original, physical document, in the presence of the individual. This should only be used for those who are not within the scope of the online service); or
  • Using an identity service provider (IDSP) that offers identity document validation technology (IDVT) (see comments below).

IDVT is available for employers to use to conduct digital right to work checks for employees who do not fall within the scope of the online service, including British and Irish citizens who hold a valid passport. It is not compulsory for employers to use the IDVT and employers will still maintain a statutory excuse against a civil penalty if they continue to carry out compliant manual checks for British and Irish citizens. Checks conducted using IDVT must be carried out via an IDSP, and the list of certified IDSPs can be found here.

Please note that if you do engage an IDSP to carry out a digital check, it is still the employer's responsibility to ensure that the IDSP is certified to the required standard and that the digital right to work check has been carried out properly. It is therefore essential that employers provide appropriate training and guidance to their staff on the new right to work checking process.

Although the temporary adjusted right to work checks are coming to an end this week, there is no need for employers to retrospectively check the right to work of employees appointed using the adjusted checks made between 30 March 2020 and 30 September 2022. Provided the checks carried out during this time were done in the prescribed manner, employers will maintain a defence against a civil penalty.

If you have any queries regarding right to work checks, please do not hesitate to contact Alan or Paige in our Business Immigration team.

This article is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice.