COVID-19: Adjustment of Right to Work checks

31 March 2020


  • Yesterday (30 March 2020), Home Secretary, Priti Patel, announced that Right to Work checks have been temporarily adapted to make it easier for employers to carry them out during the outbreak of COVID-19.
  • Employers will no longer need to see original Right to Work documentation.
  • Workers will now be able to submit scanned documents, rather than original copies.
  • Checks can be undertaken over a video call.
  • Employers will be required to record the date the check was made and clearly mark it as “adjusted check undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19”
  • This will be effective immediately (30 March 2020).
  • An announcement will be made in relation to when these measures will end.
  • Once the temporary changes end, employers will be asked to carry out the full checks on existing employees who started work during the pandemic within 8 weeks of the COVID-109 measures ending.
  • Retrospective checks must clearly be marked as “the individual’s contract commenced on [insert date]. The prescribed right to work check was undertake on [insert date] due to COVID-19”.
  • If a prospective employee cannot provide any of the accepted Right to Work documents, the employer should use the Employer Checking Service.
  • It remains an offence to knowingly employ anyone who doesn’t have the right to work in the UK with potential fines of £20,000 per illegal employee.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said:

“I have introduced these temporary changes to help employers and landlords conduct checks more easily as people follow advice to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives, during the coronavirus outbreak.”

For the full announcement, click here.

For the guidance, click here.

Aspire Comment

It is imperative to note that the necessity to carry out Right to Work checks hasn’t been removed but have been adapted in order to encourage individuals to follow the government’s advice and stay at home.

This adaptation will remove a layer of pressure that employers are facing regarding Right to Work checks and the necessity to meet the prospective worker face to face. The ability to accept scanned documentation will, in many cases, speed up the process for employers and will allow workers to step into potentially vital work during this pandemic much sooner.

It is important to note the 8-week deadline above and the wording that must be used to record the checks. Fully complying with the measures set out in the guidance will put you in the best possible position when completing Right to Work checks during and following the coronavirus pandemic.

If you require any further advice get in touch with one of our team on 0121 445 6178 or send us an email at