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In brief

From 17 May 2021, the temporary adjustments introduced to the right to work check due to COVID-19 will be ending.

When conducting the right to work check, employers must again check the prescribed documents that are set out in the right to work checks: an employer’s guide. Employers can no longer accept scanned copies or photos of the original documents and must be in possession of the original documents when conducting the right to work check. 

Alternatively, as many offices are not fully back to work, where possible, employers can also use the online right to work tool. The online check provides real time information direct from the Home Office systems and does not require the employer to see or to check the individual’s physical documents. Employers that use this service, will be able to carry out a check via video call. The individual must give the employer permission to view their details in the form of a share code. This service can be used by those with a current Biometric Residence Permit or Card, status under the EU Settlement Scheme, or the points-based immigration system. Employers must be mindful that they cannot insist individuals use this service or discriminate against those who choose to use their documents to prove their right to work instead. 

As previously communicated by the Home Office, it is no longer necessary to carry out retrospective checks on those who had a COVID-19 adjusted right to work check between 30 March 2020 and 16 May 2021 (inclusive). As an employer you will be safeguarded against any civil penalty provided the checks undertaken during this period was done in the prescribed standard manner or as set out in the COVID-19 adjusted checks guidance.

Related links

Right to work checks: an employer’s guide

Online right to work tool

Further details regarding these changes can be obtained by reaching out to your usual contact in our Global Immigration & Mobility team. 


Tony Haque is a senior associate with over 20 years' experience advising in all areas of UK immigration and nationality work, and related European Union law. He is a member of Baker McKenzie’s Global Labor Employment and Employee Benefits Practice Group, where he advises on related corporate, tax and labor law issues, and leads the Firm's Global Immigration & Mobility department in London. Tony is an appointed member of the Law Society's Immigration Law Committee which provides expert guidance to practitioners and seeks to influence the direction of policy. He is recognized as a leader in his field by all of the main UK legal directories including Chambers & Partners, Legal 500, Legal Experts, Global Counsel 3000 and A Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers.


Richard Mills is a Senior Associate in Baker McKenzie's London office.


Ying Li is a Senior Immigration Specialist in Baker McKenzie London office.


Wendy Mortimer is a Senior Immigration Specialist in Baker McKenzie London office.


Natasha Riley is an Immigration Specialist in Baker McKenzieLondon office.


Tomoko Sasaki is an Immigration Specialist in Baker McKenzieLondon office.

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