On Friday 18 June 2021 the Home Office announced that the temporary COVID-19 adjusted right to work checks will now end on 31 August 2021 (instead of 20 June 2021 as previously stated). This means that employers can continue to carry out adjusted right to work checks up to and including 31 August as follows:
- checks can be carried out over video calls
- job applicants and existing workers can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals
- employers should use the Employer Checking Service (with the permission of the employee) if a prospective or existing employee cannot provide any of the accepted documents.
The Employer Checking Service is available to employees who have been granted UK immigration status under the EU Settlement Scheme, or Points Based Immigration System. You can only use the service with the employee's permission, and employers must be careful not to discriminate against employees who do not provide permission to use the service.
The Government has also confirmed that employers will maintain a continuous statutory excuse against a civil penalty in the event of illegal working if the right to work check was undertaken in line with the COVID-19 adjusted checks during this period.
There is also no mandatory requirement for retrospective checks to be undertaken where a COVID-19 adjusted check was carried out between 30 March 2020 – 31 August 2021. However, if employers "choose" to carry out retrospective checks, they must ensure that they do so in a non-discriminatory manner. Further guidance on avoiding discrimination while preventing illegal working can be found here.
From 1 September 2021, employers must revert back to the usual right to work check rules, and either:
- check the employees original documents; or
- check the applicants right to work online (if the employee is eligible and has provided a "share code").
The guidance published on 18 June can be found here.