Carrying out Right to Work checks during the Covid-19 Crisis

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Carrying out Right to Work checks during the Covid-19 Crisis
11
Oct

Carrying out Right to Work checks during the Covid-19 Crisis

Organizational reps and teammates are responsible to check right to work and whether they are working remotely. However, maintaining compliance in accordance with the UKVI states that the right to work checks must continue, in a befitting manner as the situation may deteriorate.

Now, Covid-19 prevention regulations prevent employers to carry out these checks in an appropriate and simple manner, thus presenting hurdles in their way for the task of ensuring the Right to Work checklist. A previous delay between the lockdown and a change in UKVI policy has finally been rectified now.

There have been made some temporary adjustments in carrying out the Right to Work checks due to the Covid-19 crisis to ensure ease and flexibility for employers responsible for carrying these out.

As of March 30, 2020, some of the temporary changes made to assist employers in carrying out online right to work checks are as follows:

  • video calls are permitted to carry out background checks;
  • sharing of scanned documents or document snapshots using email or a mobile app are permitted to be used for checks instead of the original documents;
  • employers are advised to use Employer Checking Service in case an employee is unable to provide any of the accepted documents.

It is imperative that employers continue to implement a Right to Work UK and carry these out as per the employer’s guide. Employing a worker who does not have a Right to Work in the UK is a punishable offense.

There may be some cases wherein individuals may be unable to furnish proofs for their employer Right to Work, due to the Covid-19 crisis. Therefore, extra care must be taken to ensure fairness and equality and that no employee or prospective applicant is discriminated against because they are unable to furnish their documents and proofs. Please see the code of practice for employers: avoiding unlawful discrimination while preventing illegal working for more advice on such matters.

The following steps can go a long way in managing the right to work check on an ad hoc basis:

  • The employees shall submit a scanned copy or a photo of their original documents through email or a mobile app.
  • Through a special-purpose video call, employees must hold up and showcase the original documents through the camera to be inspected by the employer, who then must check them against the submitted digital copies.
  • All dates of the instances when screening has been made should be recorded.
  • Workers having current Biometric Residence Permit or Biometric Residence Card or status under the EU Settlement Scheme are advised to use the online right to work UK checking service during a video call.

In case a job applicant or an existing employee is unable to show their documents, the employer must contact the Home Office Employer Checking Service. A Positive Verification Notice shall be furnished to the employer if the employee in question has a Right to Work. The employer then has 6 months from the date of notice to furnish validated Right to Work proofs from the employee, to prove right to work.

Steps after the lifting of restrictions:

The employers shall be kept informed by the UKVI of the likely end date for the temporary changes outlined above. The employers must revert to the following RTW check process after that date:

Retrospective checks must be also carried out on existing employees who:

  • started working during the temporary check process which has now ended;
  • were required to follow up to check someone’s right to work during the previous temporary measures

Employers must mention the work check details on the individuals’ relevant work documents.

Once the Covid-19 measures have ended, the retrospective check must be carried out within a maximum of 8 weeks. Detailed records from both checks must be kept to be produced to the UKVI officials in due course of time.

If all the checks are carried out as above once the temporary measures have ended, the UKVI shall not take any enforcement action against the employer. However, if it is revealed that an employee does not have the necessary permission to be in the UK, the employer must end the employment of that employee immediately.

It is to be noted here that if an employer has carried out the share code right to work check normally during this Covid-19 period, they shall not be required to check share code right to work once the temporary measures are ended.

Complygate provides you with the right to work checks online where you can check employee right to work with ease. Click here to get started screening your employees.

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