There have been some recent updates to the Right to Work checking procedures that apply between the 1st January and 30th June 2021. These follow the UK’s departure from the EU (known as the “Grace Period”) as well as some changes to the temporary Covid-related modification to the procedure.
The changes to the checking procedure were implemented to protect the rights of EEA nationals who are lawfully resident in the UK at the end of the transition period, but who haven’t yet been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme. They will need to apply by 30 June 2021.
In its guidance, the Home Office confirmed that whilst free movement ended on 31 December 2020, employers are not expected to differentiate between EEA nationals who arrived before the end of the transition period (31 December 2020) and those arriving after (i.e. in the grace period from 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021). As a result, right to work checks for EEA nationals will not change until after 30 June 2021. And during this time, EEA nationals can use their passport or national identity card to evidence their right to work.
However, if they wish to continue working in the UK from 1st July onwards they will need to have started an application under the EU Settlement Scheme or employers may need to register as a sponsor and use the points-based system to enable their continued employment. Evidence of the right to work in the UK for EEA Nationals can be found using the Home Office online system: https://www.gov.uk/view-prove-immigration-status
or continue to produce their passport or national identity card as usual.
There is another twist to the tale, however. As a result of the Coronavirus restrictions, seeing some of the paperwork in person was not always easy, so a modified system had been put in place such that you could have a scanned electronic copy emailed to you and then see the person via a video call with the document, rather than having the original to view yourself.
The modified system will cease as a temporary adjustment on the 16th May 2021 and therefore from 17th May you will need to revert to the former system of checking the applicant’s original documents or check their right to work status online. See https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-right-to-work-checks
for the latest advice.
It will of course be different again from 1st June and we await an update on that nearer the time.
After this article was originally posted, the Home Office has since updated its guidance to confirm that employers will not have to return to physical right to work checks until 21 June.
Previously the guidance stated that physical right to work checks would return on the 17 May in line with step two of the roadmap out of lockdown.
Following the update, until 20 June employers can continue to carry out checks via video calls and job applicants and existing workers can send scanned documents or a photo of documents rather than sending originals.
From 21 June 2021 physical checks must take place however, retrospective checks will not need to be undertaken for any employee who previously had an adjusted check due to Covid-19.