Every business, recruitment and hiring manager needs to ensure their job applicants are legally allowed to work in the UK before employment commences. The checks must be carried out on all employees – British nationals and EU citizens as well as non-EEA nationals – before they commence employment. Get it wrong and the result could be civil penalties of up to £20,000 per illegal worker and untold reputational damage.
A timeline of changes to Right to Work checks
On 30th March 2020, due to the COVID-19 restrictions regarding meet face-to-face, the Home Office introduced temporary measures to allow employers to conduct Right to Work checks via video call. This process involved an employee providing a scanned copy of their identification documents, validated via a video call where the candidate shows their original documents against the digital copy
In April 2021, the Government announced Right to Work checks were due to revert back to in person checks only from May 17th. But following heavy lobbying by APSCo and the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) on the grounds that many people are still working remotely and in person checks would increase COVID risk, it was delayed until June 21st.
Speaking about the Government’s announcement, Tania Bowers, Legal Counsel and Head of Public Policy at APSCo stated:
“we wrote to the Home Secretary in April highlighting our concerns over both the timing of the proposed return to physical checks, which at least has now been addressed, but also the fact that a return to physical checks will disproportionately disadvantage UK workers. This is because there is already an online checking service via a share code for EU nationals which can be remote and for non-EU workers through the Government Employer Checking Service. However, the Passport Office has no online service for UK nationals.
Access Recruitment ran a webinar in conjunction with In-House Recruitment to discuss the changes to Right to Work with a poll asking attendees their thoughts on the June 21st delayed date for physical checks, for which you can see the resuts below:
- 52% of the attendees did not expect the Right to Work changes would go ahead
- 33% stated they were fully prepared and ready for the changes
- 10% admitted they hadn’t even thought about it
- 5% specified other
Recent news shows that 52% of attendees were correct, as a return to physical checks has been delayed.
What’s the latest Right to Work news?
The Home Office have recently released the following statement:
“we can now confirm that, following the UK Government’s announcement on 14th June 2021 to delay the lifting of the remaining restrictions until 19th July 2021, we have decided to push back the date for the resumption of physical document checks to 1st September 2021. This will ensure employers have sufficient time to put measures in place to enable face to face checks.”
How can you get prepared?
Employers across all industries and sectors who regularly recruit need to do so efficiently and quickly, whilst upholding compliance. Adopting automated screening software can help organisations mitigate risk and respond to legislative change, such as the changing requirements around Right to Work checks.
For industries that need to hire large numbers of staff, such as hospitality and care, speed of turnaround is vital in order to fill open vacancies with compliant workers. Access Right to Work offers an easy-to-use mobile app and cloud-based management portal. In less than five steps it confirms an applicant’s eligibility to work in the UK, as well as storing proof of compliance.
Watch the video below to see it in action: