Contractors’ Questions: Do extended covid Right To Work checks affect me?

Contractor’s Question: What does the covid Right To Work Checks being extended mean for contracting, and us in the sector?

Expert’s Answer: First and foremost, thanks to the extension of the ‘adjusted’ checks, Right To Work (RTW) checking by video interview can now continue until September 30th. This is great news for contractors.

Expired? You'll be excluded

Perhaps the biggest issue for contractors, though, when looking at the new digital RTW scheme, which will be facilitated by the use of IDVT, relates to the estimated 1 in 5 work-seekers who do not have British/Irish passports which are in-date.

Essentially, every individual on a valid visa can be checked remotely via the Home Office online system; everyone with an in-date British/Irish passport will be able to be checked by Identity Document Validation Technology providers from October 1st 2022, but the estimated 20% of the population on expired passports (or relying on birth certificates/NINO as identity), will not be able to use a digital route.

Two-tier market is a concern

If that’s you and you’re a contractor, you will need to follow the old-fashioned face-to-face routes to getting your Right to Work verified. 

My deep concern is that the above could create a two-tier temporary labour market, where contractors with out-of-date passports and/or relying on birth certificates/NINOs will not be treated in the same way by employers/recruiters as those contractors who use digital routes. To guard against this risk of a two-tier contractor market emerging, we have put our concern to the Home Office. We are also working on some potential proposals to help make the scheme fair for all. 

And finally, an oddity...

However, one oddity at the time of writing is that the covid ‘adjusted’ check process has not adjusted to being extended at a time when covid is easing, so slightly strangely employers are still having to use the “due to COVID” wording on records of their digital/video phone RTW checks!

The expert was Keith Rosser, director of Reed Screening and chair of the Better Hiring Institute.

Tuesday 1st Mar 2022
Profile picture for user Keith Rosser

Written by Keith Rosser

Keith Rosser is a labour market expert with almost 20 years working in hiring. Currently a Group Director at Reed, the UK's largest family-owned recruitment business, and Chair of 2 joint UK government and industry bodies: the Better Hiring Institute and JobsAware.
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