Employers are obliged to perform ‘Right to Work’ for new applicants and employees. There is a civil penalty regime if an employer grants a worker employment if they do not have the right to work in the United Kingdom.
Though, there is a statutory excuse from the penalty if it carries out the checks.
The Covid-19 Concession
On 30 March 2020, the Home Office introduced temporary adjustments which meant that employers could rely on scans or photographs of original documents rather than have the actual documents.
Ending 16 May 2021?
Originally, this Covid-easement was due to end on 16 May 2021, at which point employers had to revert back to checking original documents.
Ending 20 June 2021?
On 16 May 2021, the Home Office and Immigration Enforcement advised that the pre-Covid regime was to be re-introduced on 21 June 2021. This was in line with the UK Government’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown (England), which envisaged restrictions and social distancing measures being lifted from 21 June 2021.
Ending 31 August 2021?
On 18 June 2021, the Home Office and Immigration Enforcement amended the end date of the Covid-easement to 31 August 2021.
Pre-Covid checks resumed from 01 September 2021 and there was no obligation on the employer to perform retrospective checks if they had been operating the adjusted check regime.
Concession Ending 05 April 2022
Now we have another date of 05 April 2022.
On 26 August 2021, the Home Office and Immigration Enforcement amended the end date of the Covid-easement to 05 April 2022. Again, there is no obligation for the employer to carry out retrospective checks if employers have been operating the adjusted check regime between 30 March 2020 and 05 April 2022 (inclusive).
So, back to the usual 06 April 2022?
Currently, the normal process resumes at the start of tax year 2022/23 (on 06 April 2022). This means the return to face-to-face and physical document checks. Perhaps the 31 August 2021 was too soon and the extension reflects the fact that not all employers are back in the office and continue to work remotely.
The important word is ‘currently’. HR professionals will want to monitor this closely.
Ian Holloway is a highly respected payroll practitioner, writer, advisor and trainer. He has worked in the payroll profession for over 30 years and is now Payroll Consultant at i-Realise, an independent change management business operating in the HR & payroll space.
Ian has hands-on experience processing payrolls from all sectors, large and small. In 2011 he shifted focus to his passion for educating the profession and also worked on improving payroll software solutions to meet legislative requirements and business goals. He is the Trailblazer Chair for the Level 3 Payroll Administrator Apprenticeship and the Level 5 Payroll Assistant Manager Apprenticeship. He also advises on the practical impacts of new government legislation.
As Payroll Consultant at i-Realise, Ian’s broad experience and up-to-date knowledge allows him to publish insights to UK HR & Payroll professionals through workshops, white papers, newsletters and face-to-face presentations. Ian regularly speaks at industry conferences and is a featured writer for several Payroll, HR and Finance publications. Ian leads i-Realise’s monthly payroll forum, a confidential platform for in-house payroll leaders and managers to discuss new legislation and collectively improve best practice.
You can contact Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org