The last six months has seen unprecedented change in the UK, with the covid-19 pandemic affecting almost all aspects of our lives. This is particularly true for employers, who have had to adjust to having more staff than ever working at home and trying to work out how to recruit and interview in a socially distanced way. Although not entirely absolving employers of responsibility over how they recruit, the government has relaxed the rules in some areas of the system in an attempt to help employers manage things digitally rather than face to face.


Temporary Changes

All changes which have been made by the government around right to work checks and DBS certificates have been made on a temporary basis. Changes came into effect on 30th March but have been given no end-date. It is unlikely that any changes will be made before the end of 2020, and may well extend further, well into 2021. The situation is fluid, and with so many other issues taking up space in news coverage, it’s likely that any changes to arrangements may be lost. The best advice is to keep looking at the government websites, which are updated almost instantly when changes are made affecting applicants or employers.


Digital Right to Work

Right to work is a process many applicants go through without even realising that’s what’s happening. A right to work check is just a way of establishing that someone has the right to be in the UK, and the legal right to work here. Most applicants are asked to bring their passport to the interview with them as the easiest way to showing who they are, and their legal status. This might get a bit more complex when Brexit kicks in at the end of the year, but the general ethos will remain the same.

The main changes are a move from a face to face inspection of documents to a system allowing employers to look at paperwork online. Rather than seeing an applicant face to face, an employer can now ask for workers to scan documents and email them, or just take photos with a smartphone and send to the employer. The employer will then need to schedule a video call, either using a laptop or smartphone, so they can match the appearance of the person on the call to the photos in the documents which have been provided.


What Applicants Need to Know

If you’re applying for a job, your employer should be up to speed with all of these restrictions, and changes to processes. The penalties for companies employing illegal workers lie with management rather than the workers, so if your employer decides not to carry out checks as usual, that’s at their risk. If you don’t have the facilities to take photos of documents or scan documents, speak to your employer as there will be ways around this. If you are unsure of whether your employer is acting in accordance with the law, speak to Citizens’ Advice, or ACAS.