Latest changes in candidate compliance and how it impacts recruiters

Every business, recruitment and hiring manager needs to ensure their job applicants are legally allowed to work in the UK before employment commences. The checks must be carried out on all employees - British nationals and EU citizens as well as non-EEA nationals - before they commence employment. Get it wrong and the result could be civil penalties of up to £20,000 per illegal worker and untold reputational damage.

Right to Work

On 30th March 2020, due to the COVID-19 restrictions regarding meet face-to-face, the Home Office introduced temporary measures to allow employers to conduct Right to Work checks via video call. This process involved an employee providing a scanned copy of their identification documents, validated via a video call where the candidate shows their original documents against the digital copy.

Right to Work checks were due to revert back to in person in June 2020 but after extensive lobbying the Government has delayed reverting to in person checks until 5th April 2022.

The Home Office have recently released the following statement:

“Deferring the end date of the adjusted checks to 5 April 2022 ensures the Right to Work Scheme continues to operate in a manner which supports employers, whilst we look to implement a long-term, post-pandemic solution.”

For many employers, certain roles have now been redesignated as remote working engagements. If employers continue to recruit remote workers in catchments local to their corporate premises, the requirement to meet the worker from April 2022 would simply entail an onsite visit prior to the commencement of work, and as appropriate to ensure ongoing worker compliance.

However, where employers are now recruiting remote workers from a wider geographical remit, with no intention of them ever working on premise, they must swiftly devise a new screening process. This should include changes to the associated workflows, evidence gathering and auditable documentation processes to meet all legal requirements.

If an employer is planning to extend its recruitment reach for remote workers already living beyond the domestic shores, a whole raft of considerations and legal requirements come into play. These include decisions on how best to engage the worker, how the screening checks may need to vary on a country-by-country basis, consideration of local labour laws and how and who to pay.

EU Settlement Scheme

From 1st July 2021, employers need to check the right to work status when recruiting EU, EEA and Swiss Citizens. This can either achieved through the Home Office’s checking service (which requires a share code and data of birth), or by checking the original documents.

It’s good to note though that any late settle or pre settled scheme applicants can still continue to have the right to work until their application is decided. If there are any outstanding applications, applicants will have a Certificate of Application or a confirmation email.

From the 1st July 2021 any EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who does not qualify for the EU Settlement Scheme will need a visa under the UK Points-based immigration system in order to work.

UK Points-based immigration

To be eligible for a visa, migrant workers who want to move to the UK will have to qualify for 70 points. Note that Irish citizens are able to live and work in the UK as part of the Common Travel Area.

  • 50 points can be reached by having a job offer from an approved employer for a skilled job and being able to speak English.
  • 20 points can be achieved if the applicant is to be paid at least £25,600 per annum.
  • Extra points can be achieved through better qualifications.
  • There is also a fast-track visa scheme for healthcare professionals.

Frontier Workers

A frontier worker is an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who is resident outside the UK but is employed or self-employed in the UK.

Frontier workers are issued with a frontier worker permit either digitally or physically. Employers can carry out either a manual check or can use the online service.
How can recruiters be prepared?

Employers and recruiters across all industries and sectors who regularly recruit need to do so efficiently and quickly, whilst upholding compliance. Adopting automated screening software can help organisations mitigate risk and respond to legislative change, such as the changing requirements around Right to Work checks.

For industries that need to hire large numbers of staff, such as hospitality and care, speed of turnaround is vital in order to fill open vacancies with compliant workers. Access Right to Work offers an easy-to-use mobile app and cloud-based management portal. In less than five steps it confirms an applicant’s eligibility to work in the UK, as well as storing proof of compliance.

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