You can now perform Adjusted Right to Work Checks until 1 September 2021
The Temporary Adjusted Right to Work checks - which permitted UK employers to check their candidates’ right to work in the UK online, due to the current pandemic – were supposed to be lifted in June 2021.
On 14 June 2021, the government announced the extension of the lockdown ease date to 19 July 2021. For that reason, the temporary COVID-19 adjusted right to work checks won’t now end until 31 August 2021, being 1 September 2021 the first day that regular Right to Work checks will be back in place.
Keep reading to learn more about the differences between regular right to work checks and the adjusted one.
What are the Adjustments for the Right to Work Checks?
The temporary adjustments went into effect on 30 March 2020 and allows businesses to conduct qualification checks remotely via video conferences rather than physically inspecting paperwork.
This enables potential candidates and current workers to provide employers scans or copies of identity papers via email or mobile applications, instead of delivering the actual papers to the employer for physical examination, as required by the usual checking process.
This avoided the obvious practical difficulties that would have arisen if physical inspections were attempted whilst social distance and stay-at-home edits were in place.
How have they changed in the Right to Work Checks requirements?
Starting from 1 September 2021, UK employers will be obliged to examine original identification documents or, if the individual cannot produce paperwork, checking their right to work status online using the Employer Checking Service. The person must consent to the online checks and supply the employer with a unique share code for the employer to view their information.
Candidates must bring original physical documents when undertaking proficiency tests scheduled to begin after 1 September 2021 and cannot rely on document reviews via video calls or scanned copies, to ensure that checks are valid.
Employers would also have a legal basis to oppose civil penalties for hiring people who are not allowed to work due to immigration status. If workers continue to work remotely, they may be asked to transmit original papers via courier or certified delivery services so that actual documents may be referenced and verified during video conferences.
As a reminder, to establish a statutory reason, a manual right to work check should follow the three procedures below:
- Original papers from the applicant should be demanded;
- The documents' authenticity should be examined in the presence of the applicant (in person or through video call); and
- It's a good notion to make and keep copies of the documents.
Will physical document inspections be necessary for the future?
Employers were warned that after the temporary remote measures were lifted, they would be obliged to do follow-up right-to-work checks on any workers who had a COVID-19 altered check within eight weeks of the protective measures expiring.
Employers will be relieved to hear that the Home Office has now stated that retroactive checks would not be needed for people who had their right to work checks done while under adjusted regulations between 30 March 2020 and 31 August 2021.
Audits of Compliance
As more firms return to work after the lockdown, the Home Office is expected to boost the number of compliance inspections it conducts.
Fines of up to £20,000 can be imposed on employers who hire illegal employees without conducting adequate right-to-work checks and where there is information or reasonable grounds to suspect that an individual is working without the legal permission to do so, limitless penalties and jail terms of up to 5 years can be imposed.
As a result, now is an excellent time for employers to conduct a right-to-work audit and take necessary action if relevant right-to-work documentation is not on file.
Complygate provides UK employers with the software and tools to perform legally compliant checks and screenings and run a complete background check on the applicant. This could help you save time and efforts and point out any red flags in the applicant or employee’s profile.
Complygate is a great tool to use for conducting right to work audits.