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End of adjusted UK right to work checks deferred to September 2022

The UK Home Office has deferred the end date for Covid-19 adjusted right to work checks to 30 September 2022.

The announcement follows previous delays in bringing the adjusted checking scheme to a close. Adjusted checks – which were first introduced in March 2020 – allow employers to confirm candidates’ right to work over videocalls rather than during face-to-face appointments. The extended deadline comes after ministers announced separate plans for employers to use Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT) from 6 April 2022. The IDVT system will allow employers to verify British and Irish citizens’ eligibility to work digitally via a third party service provider, moving away from reliance on copies of physical documents.

The Home Office has said deferring the end date of the adjusted checks to 30 September 2022 will ensure “employers have sufficient time to develop commercial relationships” with IDVT service providers, as well as “make the necessary changes to their pre-employment checking processes and carry out responsible on-boarding of their chosen provider.”

It also said the deferral meant the right to work scheme could continue to support employers to implement long-term, post-pandemic working practices and give them a chance to put measures in place for face-to-face document checks in the event that they do not wish to adopt digital checks for British and Irish citizens with a valid passport or Irish passport card.

Shara Pledger, employment law expert at Pinsent Masons, said: “Remote checking has been working well for employers, allowing more flexibility in an otherwise very rigid process. As the Home Office continues to move towards digital offerings to confirm status and right to work, it makes good sense to retain the innovations ushered in due to Covid-19.”

She added: “Employers must however remain cautious; civil penalties are a common outcome where illegal working occurs, and despite the shift towards digital methods, robust checks are essential.”

The change will align right to work checks with the Disclosure and Barring Service’s (DBS) proposal to enable digital identity checking within their criminal record checking process, through the introduction of its Identity Trust Scheme.

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