Apr 21 2021

Standard Right to Work Checks to Resume

United Kingdom
  • Starting May 17, 2021, COVID-19 concessions related to right to work checks in the United Kingdom will cease and employers will once again be required to conduct standard Right to Work checks on their employees’ first working day and for any subsequent checks.
  • Retrospective checks will not be required for checks conducted under COVID-19 concessions until May 16, 2021.

The situation

The UK Home Office announced that starting May 17, 2021, employers will once again be required to conduct standard Right to Work (RTW) checks as COVID-19-related concessions will end.

A closer look

From May 17, 2021, employers must either hold the employee's original documentation (including UK visa where applicable) to complete the check, or check the employee's right to work online if applicable.

  • RTW process. Where original documentation is provided, the company’s employer must make a clear copy of the documents, sign and date them to acknowledge the check was completed with sight of the original document, and store the signed copy in the personnel file. Employers should input any visa expiry dates into a tracking system. Detailed information is available here.
  • Process until May 16. Until May 16, 2021, employers can continue to use the adjusted RTW process under which employees share a scanned copy of their documentation (including UK visa where applicable) via email or mobile app. Employers then schedule a video call with the employee to check the documents against the scanned copy provided. Sponsors must record the date the check was made and write “adjusted check undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19”. Employers are also permitted to use the online RTW checking service to complete the check while doing the video call (available for employees holding Biometric Residence Permits or Biometric Residence Cards, or holding status under the EU Settlement Scheme or the points-based system).


  • Anticipate new process. Employers should review internal processes to anticipate the standard RTW check resuming on May 17 to ensure smooth start of work and prevent compliance risks. Fragomen’s Compliance & Audit team is available to discuss, review and assist with sponsorship and compliance check changes.
  • Review past checks. Employers may wish to review files to ensure adjusted checks were properly completed between March 30, 2020 and May 16, 2021.
  • Retrospective check not required. Retrospective checks will not be required for checks conducted under the adjusted RTW process between March 30, 2020 and May 16, 2021.



Temporary concessions related to RTW checks were introduced March 30, 2020 to account for remote working during UK lockdowns.

Looking ahead

Fragomen is liaising with UK Home Office to understand how these changes will affect companies whose offices remain closed beyond May 17, 2021.

For up-to-date information on COVID-19-related travel bans, restrictions and concessions, among other information, check Fragomen’s dedicated website.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].