On 30 March 2020, as a result of the problems posed by COVID19, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) changed the way that Right to Work checks could be carried out by including conducting checks over video calls, the acceptance of scanned documents rather than originals and using the Employer Checking Service. It was only ever envisaged that these measures would be temporary. It is unclear when these temporary measures will cease to take effect however, we do envisage that they will not be permitted for much longer.
What should employers do now?
Those workers that started working during the implementation of temporary checks must be identified. Once safely practicable for the workplace in question, follow-up checks need to be conducted for these workers using the usual process set out in “An employer’s guide to right to work checks” [see page 12-16 and also 17-20 for the new online right to work check introduced earlier in the year]. After the temporary measures have ended (at a date yet to be confirmed), retrospective checks must be carried out within 8 weeks. Documents should be annotated with the following:
“The individual’s contract commenced on [insert date]. The prescribed right to work check was undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19.”
Do not leave yourself open to the possible imposition of a fine of up to £20,000 – for each illegal worker – if checks are carried out improperly or not at all. If in doubt, please contact you allocated HR support if you have any queries.