The UK Home Office has announced that COVID-19 adjusted UK immigration digital right to work checks will be extended to 31 August, 2021. The announcement comes following the government’s decision on 14 June, 2021 to delay the easing of lockdown restrictions and social distancing by four weeks.
This means that employers will not be required to resume face-to-face meetings or physical document checks until 1 September, 2021. A Home Office statement said: “This will ensure employers have sufficient notice to put measures in place to enable face-to-face document checks.”
This is the second time that UK immigration digital right to work checks have been extended by the Home Office, having pushed back their resumption to 21 June from the previously planned date of 16 May, 2021.
Recruitment trade bodies
Recruitment trade bodies had urged the Home Office to further delay the end of UK immigration digital right to work checks following the announcement that lockdown restrictions would continue until mid-July.
Commenting on the decision to delay the ending of UK immigration digital right to work checks, the Chief Executive of the REC, Neil Carberry, said: “This is a sensible decision that will keep the jobs market moving. We’re pleased government has listened, and we look forward to working with the Home Office on the next logical step – a permanent digital system.”
Before the Home Office’s announcement, the REC had expressed concern over 300,000 people a week potentially being prevented from starting work if the digital right to work checks were unable to continue.
Association of Professional Staffing Companies
Echoing the REC’s concerns, the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) had also called for an urgent extension of remote right to work checks. In a letter to the Home Secretary, APSCo argued that the delay to the easing of restrictions will make a return to physical right to work checks an unnecessary burden for UK business.
Legal Counsel and Head of Public Policy at APSCo, Tania Bowers, said: “The initial extension in May provided the labour market with much-needed breathing room as it prepared for what was then believed to be the final phase of the roadmap out of lockdown on 21 June.”
“While APSCo still maintains that the success of the digital right to work checks over the last year should not be ignored and is evidence for permanent change, a minimum of an extension to in-person requirements is now critical,” Bowers added.
Bowers went on to add that APSCo remained concerned that any change to in-person checks would mean that UK nationals would be treated differently to non-UK nationals.
She said: “Proof of right to work checks for non-UK nationals are carried out digitally via UK Visas and Immigration, whereas UK national checks are required to be conducted in person.”
“APSCo believes that everyone should be treated equally, and encourages a level-playing field between foreign and domestic workforces. We have asked the Home Secretary to take swift action on this matter,” Bowers added.
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