The concession - which we previously reported on when it was initially introduced, withdrawn, extended, and then extended again - permits employers to conduct Right to Work checks via video rather than having to meet with employees or prospective employees face-to-face.
Although many workplaces have started to reopen, working from home or a part- or full-time basis remains a reality for many, so this practical step which means that new employees do not need to make a potentially unnecessary journey to the workplace is to be welcomed.
We also heard from many employers who were concerned about how they would carry out in-person checks on new employees who had recently arrived in or returned to the UK and were required to self-isolate and therefore unable to meet anyone in person for the purposes of an in-person Right to Work check.
The announcement that the re-introduction of in-person checks is to be postponed until 6 April 2022 is therefore very welcome.
In addition to announcing the extension of the concession, the Home Office have also confirmed that they are considering the use of 'specialist technology' to support a system of digital right to work checks in the future. The Home Office's ambition is to introduce a new digital solution which will allow many who are currently unable to use the existing Home Office online checking service, including UK and Irish citizens.
Whether such a solution will be available by next April remains to be seen.
In addition to the announcement on remote checks, employers should note that an updated guidance document on conducting Right to Work checks was published on 31 August. The guidance replaces the guidance that was published in July 2021 introducing new guidance following the end of the six-month grace period which followed the Brexit Transition.
The new guidance:
Our policy for employers on preventing illegal working and conducting right to work checks has been updated to reflect the above changes and is available to employers across all sectors.