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UK right to work check concessions extended again

The temporary adjusted rules will remain in force till 5 April 2022.

In the UK, employers are legally obliged to check if a foreign worker has the right to work in the country. The process was adjusted due to the pandemic: the checks are not cancelled but, in order to minimise personal contacts, are carried out online.

The following changes were made on 30 March 2020:

  • checks can be carried out over video calls;
  • scanned documents or photos of documents for checks can be sent via email;
  • employers can use the Home Office online service to check if an employee has the right to work in the UK.

Brexit made the checks issue especially severe. Before, EU nationals were automatically entitled to work in the UK, but now the procedure is different. From 01 July, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will need to have a Settled or Pre-settled status to legally work in the UK. Their employers will be responsible for making sure that a foreign worker has the status, and if the latter does not, the employers will have to fire them.

Obviously, the workload of HR departments has increased a lot because now they have to carry out dozens or even hundreds of checks which were not previously required. Moreover, they also have to check those working remotely.  This might be one of the reasons why the right to work check concessions, originally introduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have been extended. At the same time, of course, the restrictions remain in force, so a special approach is still unavoidable.

Another reason for this state of events is that the UK Government aims at a high digitalisation of the country and switch to online services. We have mentioned before the plans to develop a mobile app for migrants which will show the user’s immigration status, various permissions including the right to work, etc. Most likely, this will make checks even easier to carry out for employers.

Experts at Imperial & Legal closely monitor the situation. Should you have any questions as regards immigration into the UK, please, feel free to contact us. We will provide you with the most detailed and up-to-date information and help you find the best solution.


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