The Home Office has announced that right to work checks that were adjusted as a result of the covid-19 pandemic will remain in place until 30 September 2022 inclusive.

The Home Office plans to introduce new digital right to work checks from 6 April 2022, using identification document validation technology (IDVT) (for further details please see "Home Office releases further details of digital right to work check tool"). However, IDVT will only cover valid British passports and valid Irish passports (including passport cards), but not any other physical documents that can form the basis of a compliant manual right to work check.

The extension of adjusted checks is a pragmatic measure that recognises the logistical difficulties employers would face if they had to return to manually checking original documents at the same time as IDVT is launched.

The updated guidance confirms that:

  • there may be more than one provider of IDVT;
  • if employers choose to use IDVT, the extension period can be used to develop commercial relationships with an IDVT provider, to change pre-employment checking processes and to onboard the provider; and
  • employers can use the extension period to decide how best to return to full manual right to work checks while embedding their longer-term post-pandemic working model.

There will be a fee payable for using IDVT, so some employers may prefer to return to fully compliant manual right to work checks rather than using this.

Also, it will not be possible for manual right to work checks to be eliminated altogether unless the scope of IDVT is expanded. All employers will therefore need to ensure that adequate processes are put in place to carry out fully compliant manual right to work checks from 1 October 2022.

Although identity verification can continue to be completed using a video call rather than a face-to-face meeting, from 1 October 2022 it will be necessary for employers to be in possession of the proposed or existing employee's original documents when carrying out a manual right to work check. Achieving this conveniently and securely may prove to be a challenge for some businesses, such as those intending to adopt a fully remote or hybrid working model on a permanent basis.

For further information on this topic please contact Andrew Osborne, Supinder Singh Sian, Li Xiang or Tom McEvoy at Lewis Silkin by telephone (+44 20 7074 8000‚Äč) or email ([email protected], [email protected]m, [email protected] or [email protected]). The Lewis Silkin website can be accessed at www.lewissilkin.com.