Employers to resume in-person Right to Work checks
Posted on: 13th May 2021 by: Demos HR Solutions
On 30th March 2020 amidst the Coronavirus outbreak, the Government put in place temporary measures to the way Right to Work checks were made for new job applicants, allowing the use of video calls and scanned documents until Monday 16th May 2021.
*On Wednesday 12th May 2021, it was confirmed that this date has been pushed back from 16th May to Monday 21st June 2021.*
From Monday 21st June 2021, all UK employers will be required to resume in-person checks and ensure only original documents are provided by applicants (and existing employees where their right to work is time-limited and due to expire) as evidence of their right to work in the UK.
How to carry out a manual check:
- Obtain an original document from the applicant using the Government's list of acceptable documents.
- Check the validity of the documents by cross-referencing D.O.B for example, in the presence of the applicant.
- Make a clear copy for your retention, ensuring you record the date that the check was made.
However, for settled status applicants and employees, you may also check the applicants right to work online if they have provided you with a 'share code' giving you access to their home office records which they will have reviewed beforehand. An online right to work check will provide you with a statutory excuse against a civil penalty in the event of illegal working involving the subject of the check.
Due to the impact of COVID-19 some individuals may struggle to show evidence of their right to work in the UK. As a result, you must take extra care to ensure no-one is discriminated against as a job applicant or employee because they are unable to show you their documents.
You do not need to carry out retrospective checks on those who had a COVID-19 adjusted check between 30 March 2020 and 21 June 2021 (inclusive).
The announcement has understandably surprised many business owners that are still operating on a remote-working basis. If this affects you, we have suggested some ideas below by which you can adhere to the legislation whilst causing minimal disruption to your employees and the way you are currently operating:
- Train reception staff or appropriate personnel who may be regularly working in the office, on how to do the Right to Work checks, ensuring they are also abiding by GDPR data protection laws.
- Have 'Right to Work check' days - for example one day a week when you or your HR staff could go in to the office to process the checks whilst maintaining Covid-19 protocols (such as undertaking a lateral flow test and advising the candidate to do the same, prior to attending / wearing a face covering / maintaining social distancing).
- You could also ask the applicant / employee to post the original documents (advise they use a secure / recorded delivery method) and once you have received them, you could arrange a live video call and continue with steps 2 and 3 in the previous section above.
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