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New right to work checks: a guide for UK employers'

Gateley Legal

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From 31 August 2021 onwards, the temporary checks will no longer be acceptable, and it will be a requirement to check an individual’s original RTW documents.

The Home Office has published changes to the requirements for Right to Work (RTW) checks from 31 August 2021.

What are the current rules regarding right to work checks?

On 30 March 2020, the Home Office announced temporary changes to Right to Work checks due to the restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes were:

  1. That checks can be carried out over video calls (for example, holding up originals to the camera);
  2. That job applicants and existing workers can send scanned copies or photos of documents for checks, as opposed to originals; and
  3. Encouraged the use of the Employer Checking Service to check what documents can be accepted and what to do when the employee or prospective employee can’t provide them. 

What are the new rules regarding right to work checks?

From 31 August 2021 onwards, the temporary checks will no longer be acceptable, and it will be a requirement to check an individual’s original RTW documents. This can be done by either:

  1. Checking an applicant’s original documents; or
  2. Checking the applicant’s RTW online using a share code (if they have provided it)

Do I need to carry out RTW checks retrospectively?

Thankfully no, checks carried out between 30 March 2020 and 31 August 2021 will remain valid and you will be able to maintain a defence against a civil penalty if the check during this time was done in the prescribed manner of the temporary checks set out above.

Is there anything else I need to consider?

Steps need to be taken for the RTW checks to be carried out in the physical presence of an applicant from 31 August 2021. If an online check can be made this should be utilised.

If an individual is struggling to provide their RTW information (for example, due to the impact of COVID-19), you should ensure they are not discriminated against. 

You should continue to use your policies and practices to prevent illegal working in the UK to avoid fines and penalties.

Would you like more information regarding the new right to work checks?

If you would like more information regarding the changes to the the requirements for Right to Work checks please visit our global mobility and immigration landing page or contact one of our experts listed below.

Gateley Plc is authorised and regulated by the SRA (Solicitors' Regulation Authority). Please visit the SRA website for details of the professional conduct rules which Gateley Legal must comply with.

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