UK Government update on right to work checks

The Government have announced that temporary changes to the right to work checks which were implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic will come to an end on 31 August 2021 (not the 20 June 2021, as previously indicated).



This is an update to the news article previously published by TalentScotland on the 13th May 2021 in relation to Right to work checks.

Right to work checks

Between 30 March 2020 and 31 August 2021, right to work checks can be carried out over video calls and job applicants and existing workers can send scanned documents or a photo of their documents to their employer or prospective employer for checks using email or a mobile app instead of sending the original documents. This method will come to an end on 31 August 2021 with the standard right to work checks now necessary from 1 September 2021.

The end of temporary right to work checks

From 1 September 2021 employers must either:

  • Be in possession of the individual's original documents (copies will no longer be sufficient) and either carry out the check in person or via a video link. Please note that where a video link is used, the original document must still be in the employers possession at the time (full details on how to carry out right to work checks can be found here); or
  • check the applicant’s right to work online, if they’ve given you their share code (details of this can be found here).

Retrospective checks

The government has confirmed that retrospective checks will not need to be carried out on those who had their right to work checked under the temporary regime in force between 30 March 2020 and 31 August 2021.

As a reminder, you can face a civil penalty if you employ an illegal worker and have not carried out a correct right to work check. The government have confirmed that as long as the correct process in force was followed (whether the temporary COVID-19 regime or the normal right to work check) an employer should have a defence to a civil penalty.

Find out more about the right to work checks on Gov.UK

For a summary of the changes, visit Gov.UK