Following the recent announcement to the delay of unlocking Covid restrictions, the Home Office has announced that the resumption of physical right-to-work checks will not commence until 1 September 2021.
After being strongly criticised by business organisations for prematurely reverting to the in-person checks by 21 June, the Government have announced with the continuation of the Covid “adjusted” checks.
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) estimated that over 300,000 people a week would have been delayed from starting work, had the physical checks resumed on 21 June.
Not only this, but in-person checks would have gone against Government public health guidance that was given to continue working from home, where possible.
With each digital check only taking around five minutes to complete, but physical checks taking closer to 45 minutes, there was also a level of ambiguity around UK citizens being disadvantaged by this.
However, it is thought that delaying physical evaluations will not resolve the on-going issue businesses face with right-to-work checks and the REC is now urging the Home Office to adopt these digital checks for the long term in order to reflect “the new age of working”.
With the EU Settlement Scheme deadline on 30 June approaching, there is also much concern about UK-based workers from EU countries failing to apply in time.
Any EU citizen who has not applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by this date will be classed as an illegal immigrant and could face removal from the UK. Organisations employing EU citizens without settled status, or without processed claims, could also face severe penalties for using illegal labour –whether or not a business has statutory right-to-work checks in line with Home Office rules.
Therefore, it is recommended that employers ensure their workers have applied for the EU Settlement Scheme by the end of June deadline. Businesses that employ EU citizens also need to familiarise themselves with the regulatory requirements urgently to avoid any future penalties.
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