Are adjusted checks really ending on 30 September 2022?
Can the appearance of the individual still be checked using a video call?
What do employers need to do differently once adjusted checks have ended?
What should employers do to prepare for the return of standard manual checks?


The Home Office has stated that from 1 October 2022, the adjusted manual right to work check process will end. UK employers have been able to use this since 30 March 2020 to deal with difficulties in handling original documents that arose due to the pandemic. This article answers some common FAQs about this development.(1)

Are adjusted checks really ending on 30 September 2022?

The Home Office originally intended to end adjusted manual checks after 16 May 2021. The end date has since been deferred four times. The most recent deferral happened on 22 February 2022, setting the end date of 30 September 2022.

At the time of the most recent deferral, the Home Office stated an intention to give employers time to establish commercial relationships with identity service providers (IDSPs) for the purpose of completing digital checks on valid British and Irish passports (including Irish passport cards), or to put measures in place to enable "face to face" document checks if they do not wish to use an IDSP.

Although employers have appreciated the convenience and low cost of not being required to review original documents for manual right to work checks, this was only ever intended by the Home Office to be temporary because using copies carries a much higher risk of document fraud.

On the other hand, employers requested a digital solution that would enable them to move away from manual checks altogether. This has not been delivered, because IDSPs cannot be used to replace all manual document checks. There has also been a delay in the providers becoming certified, with the first identity document validation technology (IDVT) products only going live at the end of July 2022. Lastly, choosing and onboarding a provider may be costly and not straightforward (for further details, see "Using IDSPs for digital right to work checks").

Many employers may still feel they are not ready or willing to return to fully compliant manual checks. However, it appears unlikely that representations from businesses will result in a further deferral. Employers should therefore prepare operationally for adjusted checks to end as scheduled.

Can the appearance of the individual still be checked using a video call?

It will still be allowable to check the visual appearance of the person presenting for work using a live video call after the adjusted process ends. This will apply for manual checks and online checks.

The Home Office's current guidance is silent on whether video call is acceptable for reviewing whether the appearance of the person presenting for work is consistent with the image and biographic details on the IDVT report produced following a digital check of a British or Irish passport through an IDSP. However, the Home Office has provided direct policy confirmation that this is the case.

What do employers need to do differently once adjusted checks have ended?

The key change is that for manual right to work checks, the employee of the business who is doing the check will need to have sight of the physical documents relied on.

Manual right to work document endorsements should also revert back to the standard wording, no longer mentioning covid-19.

What should employers do to prepare for the return of standard manual checks?

Employers are recommended to:

  • provide staff responsible for right to work checks with refreshed training, including a reminder that since 6 April 2022, holders of biometric residence permits, biometric residence cards and frontier worker permits must have their right to work checked using the Home Office's online system;
  • ensure that there is a process in place to handle original documents for manual right to work checks, including for receipt, review, storage and return as applicable;
  • decide whether and to what extent to use an IDSP to carry out the identity verification element of right to work checks for holders of valid British or Irish passports (for further details, see "Using IDSPs for digital right to work checks");
  • determine a policy on whether the visual check of the person presenting themselves for work will be carried out in person, via live video call or a combination, and put appropriate resources and recordkeeping in place to do this; and
  • Ensure that from 1 October 2022, endorsements on copies of manually checked original documents are changed to reflect that the original document has been sighted.

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

Endnotes

(1) For further information on the adjusted process, see "Coronavirus (COVID-19): right to work checks", Home Office and Immigration Enforcement, published 30 March 2020, last updated 22 February 2022.