The Home Office has just released the latest ‘Employers Guide to Right to Work checks’ for 2021; this takes account of the UK’s departure from the EU and COVID-19 temporary measures. This article summarises the significant updates in Right to Work checks that HR teams should be aware of when hiring in 2021.
1. EU exit grace period – 1st Jan to 30th June 2021
EU citizens currently residing in the UK (prior to 1st Jan 2021) can continue to use their EU passport or National ID cards as evidence of their Right to Work; alternatively Right to Work status can be verified online (if the individual has applied for the EU Settlement Scheme and volunteers their share code).
2. Necessity to conduct checks on all candidates
As similarly stated in previous Employers Guide, checks should be conducted on all candidates including British citizens to ensure no discrimination in the hiring process. Do not simply check the status of those who appear to be migrants, otherwise you could be breaking the law. Employers should not determine how an individual proves their right to work. For EEA nationals who hold an EU Settlement Scheme status, they can use either their passport or national identity cards until 30 June 2021, or use the Home Office online service. Employers cannot insist that online service to be used, or discriminate against those who wish to use their passport or national identity cards.
3. Temporary COVID-19 adjusted checks
Employers will be able to continue conducting checks as stated in Coronavirus (COVID-19): right to work checks during the coronavirus pandemic. Checks continue to be necessary, but can be carried out over video calls, and scanned documents over emails instead of original documents are accepted. After the COVID-19 measures end, retrospective checks will need to be conducted on existing employers who commenced their employment or required a follow-up right to work check during these measures.
4. Points-based immigration system
All non-UK residents, including both EEA and non-EEA residents, will be subjected to the points-based immigration system and required to possess the skill level for the skilled worker route, should they want to be employed within the UK.
Basic requirements include:
• Have a job offer from a Home Office licensed sponsor
• The job offer is at the required skill level – RQF 3 or above (A Level and equivalent)
• English is spoken to the required standard
Minimum salary threshold to be met:
• The salary threshold of £25,600
• The specific salary requirement for their occupation
A lower salary can be accepted if the following qualifications are held (but no less than £20,480):
• A job offer in a specific shortage occupation
• A PhD relevant to the job
• A PhD in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) subject relevant to the job
Further details on the new points-based immigration system can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-immigration-system-what-you-need-to-know
5. Revised Student provisions
The guide informs of a revised ‘Student route’ that replaces Tier 4 visa arrangements.
We have entered 2021 under extremely difficult circumstances and HR teams may struggle to navigate through this new guidance and changes. Should you have queries, do get in contact and we will be pleased to be of assistance firstname.lastname@example.org.
The full document of 2021 ‘Employers Guide to Right to Work checks’ can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/right-to-work-checks-employers-guide