The Home Office introduced some emergency measures on 30 March 2020 to ensure right to work checks can still be carried out during the current COVID19 crisis.
Emergency COVID-19 changes to right to work checks
The Home Office has announced some changes that came into effect 30 March 2020:
- Checks can now 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 if a prospective or existing employee cannot provide any of the accepted documents
It is important to realise that these are temporary measures that will be in-place during the current COVID19 crisis.
Some individuals may be unable to evidence their right to work because of COVID-19. You must therefore take extra care during this period to ensure no-one is discriminated against as a job applicant or employee because they are unable to show you their documents. For further information see the code of practice for employers: avoiding unlawful discrimination while preventing illegal working.
Conducting a right to work check remotely
- Any worker should send you a scanned copy or photo of their documents via email or using a mobile app
- Arrange a video call with the worker – ask them to hold up the original documents sent to you to the camera and check that they are the same as the digital copy
- Ensure that the person on the call is the same as the person on the documents
- Record the date you made the check and mark it as “adjusted check undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19”
- If the worker has a current Biometric Residence Permit or Biometric Residence Card or status under the EU Settlement Scheme you can use the online right to work checking service while doing a video call – the applicant must give you permission to view their details
For anyone who cannot produce documents you should contact the Home Office employer checking service to seek further assistance.
After the COVID-19 measures end
We will be advised by the Home Office when these measures will end. After that you should follow the checking process set out in right to work checks: an employer’s guide. You will be asked to carry out retrospective checks on existing employees who started working for you during these measures and those who required a follow up right to work check.
You may find the following articles useful regarding other measures introduced by the government:
For more articles and ongoing updates visit the HR Solutions’ dedicated page, ‘Coronavirus Advice and Guidance for Employers’. HR Solutions are here to provide you with support and advice on any employment related issues; to find out more call us on 0844 324 5840 or contact us online.