The Home Office has provided updated advice for employers carrying out right to work checks during the outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid 19).
These are temporary measures which have been introduced to make it easier for employers to carry out the checks, whilst remaining compliant with the rules.
The temporary changes are effective from 30 March 2020
The guidance in its entirety as announced by the Home Office is as follows:
Checks continue to be necessary and you must continue to check the prescribed documents listed in right to work checks: an employer’s guide. It remains an offence to knowingly employ anyone who does not have the right to work in the UK.
Because of COVID-19, some individuals may be unable to evidence their right to work. During this period, you must take extra care to ensure no-one is discriminated against as a job applicant or employee because they are unable to show you their documents. For more information, please see the code of practice for employers: avoiding unlawful discrimination while preventing illegal working.
Conducting a right to work check during the temporary COVID-19 measures
If the job applicant or existing worker cannot show their documents
You must contact the Home Office Employer Checking Service. If the person has a right to work, the Employer Checking Service will send you a ‘Positive Verification Notice’. This provides you with a statutory excuse for 6 months from the date in the notice.
After the COVID-19 measures end
We will let you know in advance when these measures will end. After that date, you should follow the checking process set out in right to work checks: an employer’s guide.
You will be asked to carry out retrospective checks on existing employees who:
You should mark this check: “the individual’s contract commenced on [insert date]. The prescribed right to work check was undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19.”
The retrospective check must be carried out within 8 weeks of the COVID-19 measures ending. Both checks should be kept for your records.
The Home Office will not take any enforcement action against you if you carried out the adjusted check set out in this guidance, or a check via the Home Office, and follow this up with the retrospective check.
If, at the point of carrying out the retrospective check, you find your employee does not have permission to be in the UK you must end their employment.
If the check you have undertaken during the adjusted period was done in the prescribed manner, you do not need to undertake a retrospective check.