Clarkslegal LLP - Solicitors in Reading and London

Legal Updates

Updated Right to Work Checks

31 March 2020 #Immigration

We expect the government measures to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic to continue until 6 months. This means that a large majority of employees will continue working from home. This meant that employers were unable to check original documents to establish a right to work, as the guidance specifically requested original documents should be inspected. However, guidance published by the government confirms that Right to Work checks have been adjusted during the coronavirus pandemic.

It is important to note that the new guidance is effective from 30 March 2020, despite the lockdown continuing from early March. In summary, the guidance provides for the following:

  • Checks can now be conducted over video calls
  • Job applicants and existing employees can send scanned documents or a photo of the relevant document using either email or a mobile app, instead of sending originals. This means that a document sent using WhatsApp may also be acceptable, as it is a mobile app.
  • If the employee cannot provide the original documents, then the employers must use the Employer Checking Service (ECS).

Whilst the temporary guidance will make it easier for employers to conduct these checks, employers must continue to adhere to the Right to Work guidance when checking the prescribed documents (except for the relaxed measures above).

Employers must still ensure that they check the documents provided carefully and keep a record of the check. The date the documents are inspected must be recorded and marked with a prescribed wording.

In some cases, employers may be able to use the online checking service, for example where the individual holds a valid Biometric Residence Permit. If this is the case, then it would be suitable to conduct this check, as it avoids the need to conduct a follow-up check later.

Right to Work checks after the COVID-19 measures end

The Home Office has indicated that it will advise employers on when the temporary measures will end. Once the interim measures end, employers will be required to conduct follow-up checks for right to work checks carried using the above guidance.

The follow-up checks must be conducted within 8 weeks of the end of the COVID-19 measures.

These changes would be welcomed by employers, as many have been unable to conduct proper checks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clarkslegal, specialist Immigration lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Immigration matter please contact Clarkslegal's immigration team by email at by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

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Hamza Malik

Hamza Malik

T: 0207 539 8020
M: 07990 595 483


Immigration team
+44 (0)20 7539 8000