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Legal changes

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)

  • Obtain an original document which appears in List A or List B of the Home Office’s current right to work checklist.
  • Check that the documents are genuine and that the person presenting them is the prospective or existing employee, the rightful holder and allowed to do the type of work offered.
  • Make a clear copy of each document in a format which cannot manually be altered and retain the copy securely: electronically or in hard copy. Also record the date the check was conducted.

 

  • Access the Home Office online right to work checking service (the View a job applicant’s right to work details on GOV.UK) using a share code provided by the employee and their date of birth.
  • Ensure that the photograph on the online right to work check is of the individual presenting themselves for work.
  • Retain a clear copy of the response provided by the online right to work check.

 

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:

  • The new recruit follows the link to the IDSP service to capture and upload an image of their passport and a facial photograph for biometric face checks.
  • The IDSP assesses the validity of the document and verifies that the new recruit is the rightful holder of the document.
  • The IDSP sends a report on the authenticity of the document which is shared with the employer.
  • The employer must satisfy themselves that the photograph and biometric details of the person presenting for work are consistent with the details in the report and make a record that this has been completed.
  • The employer checks any inconsistencies regarding names or other details and retains evidence that resolves these

Is it compulsory to engage an IDSP?

No.

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 experts please get in touch with us.