End of temporary policy allowing remote right to work checks

Samar Shams
21 April 2021

This article was written by Samar Shams, Immigration and Global Mobility Partner, on 21 April 2021 and updated on 17 May 2021.

The government has announced that temporary coronavirus right to work checking policies for hardcopy documents are coming to an end. The temporary policy, introduced in 30 March 2020, was designed to support employers in conducting right to work checks remotely during the pandemic. They could request a scanned copy of a document and then have a video call to check an employee’s document.

The Home Office initially announced that the temporary policy would end on 16 May 2021, as discussed in the below video, but has since pushed the termination date back to 20 June 2021.

From 21 June 2021, employers will have to see originals when checking hardcopy documents.

Where employers are using a share code to conduct electronic checks, they will still be able to use a video call to check right to work remotely from 21 June 2021.

Individuals with one of the following can generate a share code:

  • A biometric residence permit;
  • A biometric residence card;
  • Status under the EU Settlement Scheme;
  • A British National Overseas visa; and
  • A frontier worker permit

Home Office guidance also states that those with status under the points-based immigration system can get a share code. However, it seems that this is limited to certain EEA nationals with status under the points-based immigration system.

The electronic checking process using a share code is conducted as follows:

  • The individual gives you permission to check their right to work online and provides the generated ‘share code’ to you.
  • Arrange a video call. During the call, go to https://www.gov.uk/view-right-to-work and enter their share code and date of birth. Check the photograph on the online profile.
  • A positive online check profile will state that the individual has the right to work in the UK.
  • Print the profile page or save it as a pdf or html file.

Contrary to the Home Office’s previous advice, employers will not have to recheck documents according to non-coronavirus document checking policies, within 8 weeks of the temporary provisions coming to an end. The Home Office has said that, given that the temporary right to work checking policy was in place for so long, employers will benefit from statutory defence from civil penalty where checks were conducted in line with the temporary coronavirus policy.

This article is intended as a guide only. If you have questions or would like advice, please contact Samar Shams. Samar’s details are below. You might also wish to view the recording of our webinar ‘Check it out: Right to Work update’ which we presented on 6 May 2021.