The Home Office has confirmed a level of continuity in the process of checking an individual’s legal right to work in the UK, as they extend the Right to Work Scheme COVID-19 Adjusted Checks (“Adjusted Checks”) arrangements until 30 September 2022 (inclusive).
The Adjusted Checks were due to end in April, but employers will now not have to return to in-person checks until 1 October 2022.
The Home Office have said that Adjusted Checks used throughout the pandemic are not secure enough to be continued, however they attribute the extension of the checks to ‘positive feedback’ after employers have been allowed to use third-party ID providers to digitally check British and Irish passports.
This extension comes shortly after the Home Office announced in January that their new Identity Document Validation Technology (“IDVT”) is being rolled out on 6 April 2022. IDVT hopes to support long-term, post-pandemic work practices, accelerate recruitment and onboarding processes, enhance employer mobility and the security and integrity of checks.
The end of Adjusted Checks no longer coincides with the roll out of IDVT. The extension is a pragmatic solution to overcoming the logistical difficulties many employers would have encountered had they faced returning to physical document checks at the same time as the launch of IDVT. Now, they can use the 7.5-month extension period to develop commercial relationships with IDVT providers, update pre-employment checking processes and onboard their chosen providers.
Given that there will be a fee payable for using IDVT, some employers may prefer to return to fully compliant manual checks in the autumn; in which case, the extended Adjusted Checks give them a chance to embed best practices into their new, post-pandemic working model. This will be particularly useful for those employers adopting a fully remote or hybrid working environment moving forwards. They will now have time to ensure adequate processes are put in place to carry out fully complaint manual checks, remembering that they will once again have to be in possession of the original documents, rather than copies.
Updated guidance for employers is expected to be published ahead of 30 September.