Q&A Do I need to carry out right to work checks again on employees taken on during the pandemic?

Q:      I took on a couple of non-UK employees during lockdown when the ‘right to work’ checks were relaxed due to the pandemic, so I only received copies of their documents from the employment agency by email. I believe the temporary arrangements regarding right to work have now ended, so does this mean I need to do the checks again?

A:       From 30 March 2020 to 1 October 2022 employers were allowed to carry out remote checks without obtaining workers’ original documents. However, once those temporary arrangements came to an end, retrospective checks were required to be carried out within 8 weeks of that date. The period for carrying out retrospective checks ended on 26 November 2022.

The process for carrying out right to work checks differs depending on the nationality of the worker. In the case of British and Irish nationals, employers may carry out a manual check of specified documents from two lists (A and B). In the case of other nationals who have a biometric residence permit or card, eVisa, digital immigration status or Frontier Permit, employers must use the Home Office online service and acquire a ‘share code’.

This could be a good time to review your new employee onboarding policies and procedures and make sure all staff who need to deal with recruitment are fully trained and conversant with current employment law. For example, failure to have carried out the correct right to work checks carries a £20,000 penalty.

Employment law is one of the fasted changing areas of law and it can be particularly difficult for small and medium sized business owners to keep up with. Using ACAS guidance and seeking advice from an experienced employment solicitor can ensure you stay on the right side of the law and avoid costly mistakes.

This question has been answered by Robert Williams, a Partner with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194 

Robert Williams

Robert Williams

Partner and Complaints Handler

Partner and Head of the Civil Litigation, Personal Injury and Dispute Resolution team in Wrexham

James Denton

James Denton


Solicitor in our Civil Litigation team in the Oswestry and Wrexham offices.