The end of adjusted COVID-19 right to work checks – what do employers need to do from 1 October 2022?
We provide clarity to employers on the changes to right to work checks introduced from 1 October 2022.
In March 2020, the COVID-19 modified right to work check scheme was introduced in response to the Coronavirus pandemic to enable employers to carry out right to work checks over a video call rather than in person.
However, on 30 September 2022, the modified scheme ended and employers must now revert to carrying out manual right to work checks in person. This change presents a significant challenge for some businesses, such as those operating with a fully remote workforce.
What changed on 1 October 2022?
The important change is that for manual right to work checks, the employer will need to see the original, physical right to work documents. From 1 October 2022, it is not acceptable to check a copy or scan of the right to work document(s).
How do I carry out a right to work check from 1 October 2022?
From 1 October 2022, to conduct a valid right to work check, employers have the following options:
Carry out a manual document-based check
Carry out an online check (mandatory for a biometric residence permit, biometric residence card or frontier worker permit)
Engage the services of an IDSP (only available for valid British and Irish passports and Irish passport cards)
From 6 April 2022, employers can enter into a commercial relationship with an IDSP (Certified Digital Identity Service Provider) to carry out right to work checks on new recruits who have a valid British or Irish passport. Our article Digital right to work checks for British and Irish citizens provides further details.
The process for using an IDSP is:
Is it compulsory to engage an IDSP?
An employer can still carry out manual check for individuals with current British or Irish passports. However, the employer will need to have sight of the original, physical documents relied upon and can no longer check a copy or scan of the document over a video call.
If an employer engages an IDSP, does this mean they don't have to check any original right to work documents?
Answer is: No
Not all documents are eligible for checking via an IDSP. For example, an IDSP cannot check an expired British or Irish passport or a UK birth certificate. Also, an individual can refuse to share their passport details with an IDSP. In these cases, a manual right to work check will be required.
Can an employer still check a new recruit's appearance over a video call?
Answer is: Yes
- For a manual right to work, an employer can still check the visual appearance of a new recruit presenting for work using a live video call. The difference from 1 October 2022 is that the employer must have sight of the original, physical right to work documents and not a copy.
- For an online check, an employer can still check a new recruit’s appearance over a video call. The employer does not need to see physical documents as the right to work information is provided in real time directly from the Home Office systems.
- Where an employer uses an IDSP, it is permissible to check a new recruit’s appearance over a video call. The employer does not need to see the physical British or Irish passport because the IDSP has already certified the authenticity of the document.
If an IDSP has carried out a right to work check, can the employer just permit the new recruit to start work?
Answer is: No
An IDSP will verify the authenticity of a British or Irish passport so that the employer does not need to see the original documents. However, the employer will still need to check that the appearance of the person presenting for work is consistent with the details and the image (photograph and date of birth) on the IDSP’s report.
For further information or to speak to our team of immigration lawyers please get in touch with us.