The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has written to the Home Office, urging the department to delay to return to in-person Right to Work checks.

Penning a letter to the Home Office, the REC has called for an extension of online Right to Work checks until a permanent digital solution has been reached.

As a reaction to the pandemic, Right to Work checks were made digital in March 2020. This allowed job applicants and workers to send over scanned documents or photos of documents as well as permitting checks to be carried out over video calls.

Many bodies such as the REC and the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) stated that digital checks have delivered a “more agile and robust process to get people into work” and championed this tool being retained post-pandemic.

Initially forecast to end in late June, the Home Office then announced that in-person Right to Work checks would be delayed until September.

With this deadline upcoming, the REC have now written to the Home Office to urge that digital checks remain in place until a permanent digital solution is adopted.

In the letter, the body insisted that removing this “efficient and safe measure” is “counterproductive”, especially in the face of current staff shortages.

Conversely, it called the digital Right to Work Checks a “resounding success” and stated that maintaining its momentum is crucial in being able to alleviate worker shortages in the short to medium term.

The REC further states that it recognises that the Government is currently working on the development of a permanent digital process. The body expressed that this “cannot be rushed given the unprecedented situation”.

However, as such, it calls on the Home Office to retain the temporary digital solutions already in place as opposed to reverting back to physical Right to Work checks – a move it dubs “taking a step backwards”.

The REC further explains that many businesses have adopted new technology as a result of the pandemic and will not be returning to traditional ways of working.

As such, it expresses that the recruitment process should also reflect the current market, remaining digital. The REC state this is particularly important for people from rural areas to get access to job opportunities they could not have otherwise considered.

Currently, the return to physical Right to Work checks is set to commence from the 1st of September 2021 with the Home Office stating that many businesses will have returned to the office by this point.