The Home Office has announced that the temporary measures, which have been in place since 30 March 2020, will come to an end on 20th June rather than the 16th May 2021, as previously announced.

Employers in the UK have an obligation to prevent illegal working. Someone would be working illegally if they do not have the right to reside in the UK and the appropriate right to work, or if they are in breach of their conditions of stay. To comply with their obligation to prevent illegal working, an employer must do the following:

  • Carry out “right to work” checks on all prospective employees before they are engaged as an employee;
  • Conduct follow-up checks on employees who have a time-limited permission to live and work in the UK;
  • Keep a record of all the checks carried out; and
  • Not employ anyone that the employer knows or has reasonable cause to believe is an illegal worker.

Ordinarily, employers must carry out a three step check to establish that an employee has the right to work in the UK. These steps are:

The temporary changes have allowed employers to carry out right to work checks over video call, and for job applicants and existing workers to send scans or photographs of their documents to their employer via email or a mobile app instead of sending the originals.

From 21st June 2021, employers must either check the applicant’s original documents or check the applicant’s right to work online via the GOV.UK website, if the applicant has provided their employer with their share code.

When the temporary measures were implemented, employers were told that any employee who had a COVID-19 adjusted right to work check carried out would need an updated check within eight weeks of the temporary measures ending. The Home Office has confirmed, however, that this will not be the case and retrospective checks will not be needed. Employers will have a statutory defence against a civil penalty for any checks that were carried out using a COVID-19 adjusted procedure.

If you would like to discuss the above in more detail or if you require any employment law advice, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Employment Law Team.

Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.

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