Statutory right to work checks resume

The temporary measures introduced by the government to enable employers to conduct right to work checks will end on 20 June. From 21 June, statutory checks to ensure a job applicant’s eligibility to work in the UK will resume.

All employers are expected to comply with the law requiring that ‘right to work’ checks are carried out on all new staff before they start working. During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown, the government introduced temporary changes from 30 March 2020 through to 20 June 2021 to support employers who were recruiting staff during the pandemic. These adjustments were:

  • Conduct checks over video calls.
  • Job applicants and existing workers could send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals.
  • Employers could use the Employer Checking Service if a prospective or existing employee could not provide any of the accepted documents.

Statutory checks resume

On 21 June 2021, the temporary adjustments will end and revert to the statutory protocol for checking an individual’s right to work in the UK. Employers must check the prescribed documents set out in Right to work checks: an employer’s guide and either:

It is not necessary to conduct retrospective checks on employees who had a COVID-19-adjusted check between 30 March 2020 to 20 June 2021 (inclusive).

Due to the impact of COVID-19, some individuals may struggle to show evidence of their right to work in the UK. Consequently, employers must take extra care to ensure job applicants and employees are not discriminated against because they are unable to show their documents (see the code of practice for employers: avoiding unlawful discrimination while preventing illegal working).