COVID-19 has impacted employers in many ways, and now, as thankfully we see an upturn in the employment market, companies and recruiters are having to manage a slower recruitment process which can be frustrating as businesses work towards recovery!

It is certainly taking longer to arrange interviews. Many people are still working remotely, some self-isolating, meeting/interview rooms are fully booked by employees carrying out virtual meetings with colleagues, customers and suppliers, and many individuals have less availability to interview as they are covering their own job and additional responsibilities of roles made redundant during the pandemic. Also, many people taking advantage of remote working and the stamp duty holiday, have moved out of London and other busy, expensive cities and are not so readily  available to meet a recruiter at short notice to enable a physical RTW check to take place.

Recruiters and employers have been interviewing via Teams, Zoom, Skype and telephone where normally a candidate would have been asked to bring original documents with them to the meeting to evidence their Right to Work in the UK.

So it is indeed good news that the government recently deferred the re-introduction of physical checks in respect of Right to Work, from 1st September 2021 to 5th April 2022 and confirmed that retrospective checks will not be needed. The extension of COVID-19 adjustments makes complete sense in the current circumstances.

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) and the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) had been actively lobbying on behalf of their members to have the adjustment extended beyond August, and to ensure that the RTW Scheme could continue to operate in a manner which supports the recruiters who are finding talent for employers.

The government says that it has extended the adjustments whilst looking to implement a long-term, post-pandemic solution to RTW checks. This is largely because feedback was extremely positive about the ability to carry out these checks remotely since the start of the pandemic. A Parliamentary employers roundtable chaired by Lord Lucas underlined employers concerns and echoed the issues raised by the REC and APSCo.

The government response will involve a new, digital solution, offering enhanced security and allowing greater flexibility and speed of processing Right to Work checks.

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