Covid-19: Changes to Right to Work checks


As many workplaces remained closed and in person checks would pose difficulties for many from 17th May 2021, the Home Office has agreed to put the date back to the 21st June 2021.


In March 2020, the Government announced that as part of the national lockdown measures that it would temporarily suspend the requirement for employers to carry out right to work checks on employees original work permit/identity documents. Employers were permitted to carry out a check on soft copy documents using scanned copies of work permits/passports and then verifying the authenticity by using a video-call with the employee.

Employers were permitted to record this check as an adjusted check due to Covid-19. This was a temporary measure during the first lockdown and at the time, employers were informed that they would need to carry out a new retrospective check using the original documents within 8 weeks of the temporary arrangements ending.

The Government has now updated its guidance on this and confirmed that the temporary arrangements for right to work checks will end on the 16th May 2021.  With effect from 17th May 2021, normal procedures for right to work checks will be reinstated. The guidance also now confirms that contrary to advice given last year, that employers will not need to carry out further checks for employees who started their employment between 30th March 2020 and 16th April 2021 subject to their soft copy check having been completed in accordance with the guidance at the time their employment started and which will provide a full statutory excuse against illegal working.


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