The government has confirmed, in its updated guidance on carrying out right to work checks during the coronavirus pandemic, that the temporary COVID-19 adjusted right to work check process will come to an end on 16 May 2021. This temporary process, in place since 30 March 2020, has allowed right to work checks to be carried out over video calls and for job applicants to send scanned documents or a photo of their documents to employers via email or a mobile app, rather than sending the originals. The cessation of this temporary process means that, from 17 May 2021, employers must revert to undertaking fully compliant right to work checks, i.e. by once again checking either the job applicant’s original documents or their right to work online, in the latter case if they have provided the employer with their share code.
The updated guidance also provides that employers do not need to carry out retrospective physical checks of original documents on those who had a COVID-19 adjusted right to work check between 30 March 2020 and 16 May 2021 inclusive. Employers will maintain a statutory defence against a civil penalty if the check they have undertaken during this period was carried out in the manner set out in the COVID-19 adjusted right to work checks guidance.