Released On 23rd Apr 2021

Right to work check changes






The Home Office provided businesses with the ability to carry out right to work checks remotely during the height of the pandemic. With restrictions easing these temporary adjustments to right to work checks due to COVID-19 are ending.

From 17th May 2021 you must

•             check the applicant’s original documents, (this means an in-person check) or

•             check the applicant’s right to work online, if they’ve given you their share code

Due to the impact of COVID-19 some individuals may struggle to show evidence of their right to work in the UK. As a result, you must take extra care to ensure no-one is discriminated against as a job applicant or employee because they are unable to show you their documents.

It remains an offence to work illegally in the UK. Any individual identified who is disqualified from working by reason of their immigration status, may be liable to enforcement action. If the job applicant or existing worker cannot show their documents.

The temporary changes were made on 30 March 2020 and remain in place until 16 May 2021.

Checks continue to be necessary and you must continue to check the prescribed documents set out in right to work checks: an employer’s guide or use the online right to work checking service. It remains an offence to knowingly employ anyone who does not have the right to work in the UK.

Retrospective checks

You do not need to carry out retrospective checks on those who had a COVID-19 adjusted check between 30 March 2020 and 16 May 2021 (inclusive). This reflects the length of time the adjusted checks have been in place and supports business during this difficult time.

You will maintain a defence against a civil penalty if the check you have undertaken during this period was done in the prescribed manner or as set out in the COVID-19 adjusted checks guidance.

It is imperative that your business complies with the Home Office right to work checks and maintains records of these checks being completed.

You can be sent to jail for 5 years and pay an unlimited fine if you’re found guilty of employing someone who you knew or had ‘reasonable cause to believe’ did not have the right to work in the UK.

You can also be penalised if you employ someone who does not have the right to work and you did not do the correct checks, or you did not do them properly. If this happens, you might get a ‘referral notice’ to let you know your case is being considered and that you might have to pay a civil penalty (fine) of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker.

If you are concerned about your business practices please contact us today and allow us to support you to alleviate your concerns.

Call us today on 01935 411 191 or email through the button below to arrange a convenient time for an initial consultation as to how we can help you protect your business.


RBHR, Peace of mind for your people management matters



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