Immigration alert: In person right to work checks required again from 21 June 2021

12 May 2021

There is an important update on right to work checks: where an original document check is required, the temporary adjusted COVID video call process will no longer be available from 21 June.

Employers will be familiar with online and original document (manual) right to work checks.  Online right to work checks have been unaffected by the pandemic. Online right to work checks continue to be possible where for example the employee has a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), status under the EU Settlement Scheme, a British National (Overseas) visa or a Skilled Worker visa as an EU citizen.

Where an online check is not possible, an in person check of original hardcopy documents is normally required. For example, British citizens need to show their original passports, as can EU citizens until 30 June 2021. Those with a visa in their passport will also ordinarily need an in person document check.  Given the lockdown restrictions and most people not working in the office, these in person checks have not been possible for employers.  

End of the temporary adjusted process
The temporary adjusted COVID right to work check process has been in place since 30 March 2020 and has allowed employers to use a video call to check employees’ physical documents.  Where such a check has been carried out it is not necessary for the employer to do a retrospective check on the original documents.

Recently the Home Office said the temporary adjusted COVID process would end on 16 May 2021.  We wrote to our senior contacts about this issue, as did other stakeholders.  Given the majority of offices have not yet opened, it did not make sense that in person original document checks would be required from 17 May 2021.  

Thankfully the Home Office has listened and has put the date back to 21 June 2021.  

On-going issues

Whilst welcome, we expect that many organisations will not be back in the office until after 21 June 2021 and so there will still be concerns around whether it is possible for employers to carry out a compliant in person original document check, where an online check is not possible.  

View our guide on right to work checks: what employers need to knowWe will continue to keep you updated on developments.

If you have any queries in relation to the above change or any other immigration matter, please contact a member of the immigration team.

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