The decision to re-instate in-person right to work checks has been delayed until the 21st June, REC and APSCo confirm. 

In-person right to work checks will now be delayed until the 21st June, after initially being expected to revert back from digital checks on the 17th May.

This comes after campaigning from groups such as the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSco) among others.

Writing to the Home Secretary in a joint letter, the various employment groups called the previous deadline of the 17th May “unreasonable” and also “unrealistic from an operational point of view” due to the safety compliance procedures which need to be instated.

The letter also argued for the extension of digital right to work checks beyond the pandemic, stating it delivered a “more agile and robust process” to get people into work. It also claimed that this would align well with the Government’s “build back better” agenda for post-COVID recovery.

As such, these groups have now confirmed that the physical right to work checks will be delayed until the 21st June, the date on which all lockdown restrictions are expected to be lifted, according to the Government’s roadmap.

Shazia Ejaz, REC Campaigns Director, called this a “big win for recruiters”:

After pressure from the REC and others, the Home Office has pushed back the end date for digital Right to Work checks to 21 June instead of the planned date of May 17th. This is a big win for recruiters. It allows them to continue with digital checks while social distancing is still in place.

We will continue to push for digital checks to remain in place for the long haul. REC members have proven that these checks work and increase efficiency for all concerned.

This was echoed Tania Bowers, Legal Counsel and Head of Public Policy at APSCo, who said:

We wrote to the Home Secretary in April highlighting our concerns over both the timing of the proposed return to physical checks, which at least has now been addressed, but also the fact that a return to physical checks will disproportionately disadvantage UK workers. This is because there is already an online checking service via a share code for EU nationals which can be remote and for non-EU workers through the Government Employer Checking Service. However, the Passport Office has no online service for UK nationals.

Additionally, physical checking does not mean safer. People are not as good as technology is at spotting fraudulent documents. We had hoped that the Home Office would prioritise the expansion of digital checks – a process much more suitable for the modern world of flexible work – it also flies in the face of the Home Office’s ‘digital by design’ concept and we will continue to lobby Government for a permanent digital check which have worked so well over the last year.

The Home Office has not yet released further details although it is expected this will be communicated soon.