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Government reforms (4):  Immigration – Right to work checks

What do we already know?

As part of an employer’s obligations to prevent illegal working, there is a requirement to check the right to work of all employees’ original documents in person on or before their first day of work.

However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, employers have temporarily not been required to see an employee’s original document in person in order to carry out a compliant right to work check and can carry out a remote right to work check instead. A remote check is currently done by reviewing an electronic copy of the document and holding a video call with the employee.

What’s new?

The Government has extended the Covid-19 concession allowing employers to carry out a remote right to work check to 5 April 2022 (see updated guidance here).

This long extension was made following positive feedback about the ability to conduct such checks remotely and the need to ensure that the right to work scheme continues to support employers.  It also gives the Home Office time to review the availability of specialist technology to support a system of digital right to work checks in the future. It is hoped that this will help support those who are unable to use the Home Office online checking service, to conduct remote checks but with enhanced security.

The Government has also confirmed that where employers have carried out such Covid-19 adjusted remote check between 30 March 2020 and 5 April 2022, they will not then be required to carry out full right to work checks retrospectively.

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