In our June 2021 newsletter we advised of the extended period for the COVID-19 temporary adjusted right to work checks. On the 31 August 2021, this will come to an end.
From 1 September 2021, employers will revert to face-to-face and physical document checks as set out in legislation and guidance and must either;
- check the applicant’s original documents, or
- check the applicant’s right to work online if they’ve given you their share code
Employers carrying out in-person right to work checks will then need to meet with the applicant, check their original documents in front of them (making sure that they are valid and unaltered), and take a copy of the documents which they must retain securely (in hard copy or scanned in a format which cannot be manually altered). They also need to verify the document and record the date of the check and the date for any follow-up checks (some right to work checks have stipulated that a further check is required 6 months later).
Since January 2019 online right to work checks have been available. However, the online service can only be used to check the right to work if the worker has a current Biometric Residence Permit or Biometric Residence Card or has been granted a Frontier Worker Permit, British National Overseas (BNO) visa, status under the EU Settlement Scheme or the points-based immigration system. This means it cannot be used for employees holding a British passport, for example. However, British passport holders have the right to work in the UK, but you should ensure that you do not treat employees any different, so you must also verify a British passport holder in the same way you would for any other employee. If a British employee does not have a passport, they can also provide a full-length birth/adoption certificate for verification purposes.
It remains an offence to work illegally in the UK. Any individual identified who is disqualified from working by reason of their immigration status, may be liable to enforcement action.
If the job applicant or existing worker cannot show their documents
You must contact the Home Office Employer Checking Service. If the person has a right to work, the Employer Checking Service will send you a ‘Positive Verification Notice’. This provides you with a statutory excuse for 6 months from the date in the notice.
The HR team as always are on hand to advise, but please ensure that right to work checks are carried out as either part of the recruitment process, or no later than the first day of work so that you are confident that they have the right to work in the UK.