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Covid-19 and Right to Work Checks Update

The Government has provided updated advice for employers who are recruiting new members of staff and need to conduct remote ‘right to work’ checks. This is particularly important for employers such as supermarkets, pharmacies who are doing increased deliveries and agriculture who are recruiting large numbers of additional staff at short notice.

There are three ways to complete the right to work checks.

1.    Conduct a manual check

Most employers still rely on manual right to work checks. Until now, the employer had to see the physical passport, biometric residence permit etc. 

Employers can continue to use the ‘right to work checklist’ and conduct a manual check visa video link. The employer should follow these steps

  1. Ask the worker to submit a scanned copy or a photo of their original documents via email or using a mobile app
  2. Arrange a video call with the worker – ask them to hold up the original documents to the camera and check them against the digital copy of the documents
  3. Record the date you made the check and mark it as “adjusted check undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19”

Employers must retain the copy of the document, and set a reminder to check again before limited leave to remain in the UK expires.
 

2.    Conduct an online check

If the worker has a current Biometric Residence Permit or Biometric Residence Card or status under the EU Settlement Scheme you can use the online right to work checking service while doing a video call. This allows the employee to view the worker’s Home Office record. The record will show a photograph, personal details and whether there are restrictions on their right to work.

The worker must grant you permission to conduct this check by giving you their 9 character share code. 

Employers must access the portal themselves and not rely on a print out provided by the employee. 

3.    Use the Employer Checking Service

A number of non-EU workers may have submitted an application to the Home Office but not have received a decision yet. In this instance, their immigration documents may have expired, but they may still have the right to work while their new application is being considered. This will be the case for increasing numbers of people.

In this instance, employers can use the Employer Checking Service.

1.    Obtain worker’s permission to conduct the check

2.    Ask worker to provide the following

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • nationality
  • job title
  • hours worked per week
  • home address
  • Home Office reference number or case ID (if they have either)

3.    Complete the online form and submit to the Home Office

4.    Receive a verification notice from the Home Office. Provided that the notice is positive, the worker can now start work.

5.    Set a reminder to check again before the positive verification notice expires.

Usually, a worker will receive a decision within 6 months. However, as applicants cannot currently submit their biometrics to the Home Office, decisions are likely to be significantly delayed. It is therefore important to re-check every 6 months until a decision is received.

Other Important Points

It is also important to remember that the usually law regarding discrimination continues to apply. It is not lawful to discriminate against a potential worker simply because of their immigration status.

At the present time, employers can still accept EU/EEA passports or national ID cards as evidence of a right to work.

If you are not sure whether a potential worker has the right to work, or require any other advice, please contact us here.

Cartwright King has lawyers in most areas of law, and the current information we are sharing is written by immigration lawyer Rita Kotecha of Cartwright King. 

If you have any further queries around the above topic or otherwise, contact the firm here.

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