The last few weeks has seen significant changes to UK Right to Work checks and procedures for UK employers, which affect both British citizens and EU nationals who are starting a new job.
Many workers are still working from home. However, now that a significant number of people are returning to offices across the country, it is important that employers put processes in place to cover both groups.
We look at these changes and discuss what employers must do to ensure compliance.
Right to Work Checks on EU Nationals after 30th June
The end of the Brexit grace period on 30th June means EU nationals starting a new job must show evidence of their immigration status along with their passport.
Most EU nationals can evidence this through the EU Settlement Scheme, and can provide prospective employers with a ‘Share Code’ obtained online.
Despite outreach programmes to drive awareness, many EU nationals have not applied under the scheme. The Home Office have stated late applications will be ‘treated sympathetically’, but it should be noted that simply forgetting to hand in an application before the deadline is not considered a valid excuse.
However, it should be noted that transitional measures have been put in place until 31st December 2021 for employees employed before 30th June 2021 but failed to apply under the EUSS by this date. We discuss the measures in more detail here.
To ensure compliance, employers must:
- Implement policies and procedures and inform staff of all right to work check changes
- Inform EEA and Swiss staff of transitional measures
- Ensure employees are aware of online right to work check facilities
- Do not employ EEA nationals after 1st July 2021 if they:
- Have not applied to the EUSS by the deadline
- Cannot demonstrate alternative immigration status in the UK
- Do not meet the requirements for sponsorship under the points-based immigration system
- Avoid discrimination by applying new policies and procedures to all staff and applicants
- Remind employees to apply for settled status
For more information regarding the recent UK right to work check changes, click here.
Covid Adjustments Have Been Extended
The Covid adjustments that were brought into place for right to work checks were due to end of the 16th May. However, the Home Office announced this would change to 31st August.
At this time, it appears 31st August 2021 will mark the return of physical right to work checks. This has been met with a lot of criticism from industry bodies and employers, who feel the changes do not correspond with a digital future for right to work checks. In addition, the current online right to work check system only helps employees with a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) or status under the EU Settlement Scheme. This means British citizens have no option but to evidence their right to work through physical checks.
To ensure compliance, employers should:
- Implement an internal policy for right to work checks, which makes all relevant staff (recruitment, HR) aware of the changes
- Online right to work checks should be used where possible. The individual must be present at the time of the check, even via a live video link
- You must allocate adequate resource that allows you and relevant staff to securely receive, review, and return physical documents required for manual right to work checks. Employers should consider conducting manual checks with the individual present via a video link (rather than face to face)
The importance of maintaining compliance
With these changes in mind, it is of the utmost important that you follow the guidelines in order to maintain compliance.
However, there is also the challenge of performing complaint right to work checks alongside other vital checks; including DBS checks, credit checks, sanctions, etc.
There is software available that can save time, money, and other resources; all whilst helping you maintain compliance. Employment Check Pro, contains 100s of functions which has helped our clients manage these processes (amongst other tasks).
Pro is designed to help you with specific compliance or referencing background check requirements.
If you are interested in how Employment Check Pro can benefit your organisation, please complete the form below or visit /pro/ to learn more.