In an eagerly anticipated update, the Home Office has now announced that the Covid-19 adjustment to the right to work (“RTW”) check will no longer end on 20 June 2021 but will be extended to 1 September 2021.
The RTW check seems to be the most frequently changing area of UK immigration law at present as this is now our fourth blog on this topic in the last two months.
As a reminder, the Covid-19 concession allows employers to undertake the RTW check without physically seeing an employee’s original documents. Details of the adjusted process are set out here. With the UK Government extending lockdown until 19 July and the continuation of guidance that employees should work from home where possible, we have been waiting for this announcement since Monday.
The generous extension of the concession to 1 September is unexpected and an extremely pleasant surprise. The Home Office states that it has taken on board feedback from employers and stakeholders that many employers do not expect a full return to the office until September. The Home Office has also received feedback that many employers will be introducing a new hybrid model of working and need time to introduce new processes to comply with the normal RTW requirements.
The Home Office has also confirmed that there will be no requirement for retrospective checks on anyone who had a Covid-19 adjusted check between 30 March 2020 and 31 August 2021 inclusive.
In keeping with this fast moving area, the Home Office will shortly be releasing new guidance for RTW checks undertaken on or after 1 July 2021. The new guidance will reflect changes made to the Code of Practice on Preventing Illegal Working with regard to the RTW checks which we discussed here. We will of course post another update as soon as the Home Office publishes the new guidance so watch this space!