In a surprise move, the Home Office has stipulated that employers must revert back to checking *original* documents when confirming employees’ right to work in the UK. Due to the pandemic, temporary changes were introduced last year to checks to be carried out over video calls.
From 17 May 2021 employers must check the prescribed documents set out in the Employer’s Guide. This means when carrying out a document check employers must be in possession of the original documents. Employers can no longer accept a scanned copy or a photo of original documents.
Alternatively employers can use the Home Office right to work online service which does not require the employer to see or check the individual’s physical documents. Importantly, this option is limited to certain visa types and status, i.e. not British Nationals.
The change in policy was entirely unexpected because the digital solutions in undertaking right to work checks were proving to be very effective so there is no reason to revert. Arguably it is discriminatory and contradicts the government’s work from home policy, so this illogical decision simply must be reconsidered. If not, it will be a huge backward step which flies in the face of technology and progress, and will hinder recruitment at a critical time of economic recovery.