In reaction to the Government’s decision to extend the date for the easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions by four weeks, the Home Office has announced a further extension of the temporary COVID-19 adjusted right to work check period.
Originally, adjusted right to work checks were to be permitted until 16 May 2021, which was then extended to 20 June 2021, with the second extension now ending on 31 August 2021. As of 1 September 2021, UK employers will have to either check the worker’s original documents or verify the worker’s right to work using the Home Office online service (if the worker agrees to provide the necessary share code).
The adjusted right to work check period began on 30 March 2020, shortly after the UK went into national lockdown. The Home Office has outlined specific steps which must be followed to carry out a valid adjusted right to work check. UK employers will maintain a defence against possible Home Office enforcement action (i.e. a civil penalty) if they carried out the adjusted right to work check in the legally prescribed manner.
Following the end of the adjusted period, retrospective right to work checks will not be required. If there is any doubt as to the validity of a worker’s document or if a worker cannot/will not show their documents, the Home Office Employer Checking Service must be utilised.
UK employers must remain hypervigilant to ensure they do not mistakenly employ an individual who does not hold the right to work in the UK. The Home Office can fine a UK employer up to £20,000 per illegal worker found to be working for the business, where a right to work check was not conducted properly.
The Clarkslegal UK Immigration team are here to assist UK businesses with any of their immigration compliance issues.