Changes to Right to Work Checks Due to COVID-19

April 2, 2020 | United Kingdom

Effective immediately, the Home Office has introduced temporary changes to facilitate the right to work check process during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the checks can now be completed over video calls and job applicants and workers can submit scanned documents or photos of documents using email or a mobile app instead of submitting originals. The Home Office will provide notice in advance of the temporary measures ending and the regular process resuming.  


Employers can use the following process to complete a right to work check during this period:


  1. Ask the worker to submit scanned copies or photos of their original documents via email or a mobile app.
  2. Schedule a video call with the worker.
  3. During the call, ask the worker to hold the original documents up to the camera and check them against the scanned copies or photos that were sent in. 
  4. Note “Adjusted check undertaken on [date] due to COVID-19.”
  5. If the worker has a valid Biometric Residence Permit, Biometric Residence Card or status under the EU Settlement Scheme, use the online right to work checking service while conducting the video call. The applicant must grant the employer permission to view their details.

If the worker cannot present any of the acceptable documents, the employer must contact the Home Office employer checking service. If the worker has the right to work, the employer checking service will send the employer a “Positive Verification Notice”. 

Once the regular process resumes, the employer will need to conduct a retrospective check within eight weeks on employees who started working during the temporary measures.