FURTHER UPDATE - End of 'adjusted' right to work checks process

FURTHER UPDATE 18/06/2020 - adjusted right to work checks can now continue until 31 August 2021. This news article has been updated accordingly.

UPDATED 12/05/2020 - adjusted right to work checks were originally announced to be ending on 16th May 2021 but, in response to feedback across many sectors, the Home Office have announced that they will end on 20 June 2021. This news article has been updated accordingly.


The Home Office have announced that the temporary adjustments to right to work (RTW) checks due to COVID-19, which allows a check to be undertaken remotely, are ending on 31 August 2021.

This means that from 1 September 2021 Divisions, Departments and Faculties are required to conduct RTW checks under the original RTW rules. This may require the check to be conducted ‘face to face’, which we appreciate could be problematic for many parts of the University.

While the end of being able to carry out 'adjusted' checks is unfortunate, there are some positive elements to highlight.

Firstly, they have also announced that there is no longer a requirement for retrospective RTW checks to be done on adjusted checks undertaken between 30 March 2020 and 31 August 2021 (inclusive).

We therefore recommend as a short term measure that departments and faculties conduct as many RTW checks as possible for prospective employees and casual workers before the 31 August deadline using the Covid adjusted RTW rules.

The second positive aspect is that for EU/EEA staff with Settled/Pre-Settled visas or those staff with a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP cards) it is possible to conduct a RTW check via the new Home Office online RTW portal which allows remote checks. Guidance on the online RTW check process is found on our guidance on 'How to complete a right to work check'

For staff who do not fall in this category, RTW checks can still be conducted remotely by original RTW documents being sent recorded postal delivery to the person conducting the RTW check.

  • A reminder that expired British passports are acceptable as a RTW document (individuals may be less reluctant to send old/expired passports via the post).
  • Possible that the potential employees can drop their RTW documents at the department and then the RTW can be carried out at a later date visa ‘teams’ with the checker holding the original RTW documents.

For those RTW checks that need to be conducted in person, we appreciate the additional challenge department and faculty HR staff will face at a time when large proportions of staff are still working remotely. We are therefore investigating potential solutions to support you in conducting these checks.

An immediate first step will be that the Staff Immigration Team will relax the requirement that only those who have undertaken RTW training should conduct RTW checks.

We will communicate any additional solutions/support as soon as possible.

The Home Office will be announcing further RTW updates to cover their planned changes to the RTW rules on 1st July 2021 as a result of Brexit, when new EU/EEA employees with UK visas or Pre-Settled status will be regarded as List B and just their passport will not be sufficient to prove their RTW. The Staff Immigration Team will be providing training and update sessions for this shortly.

Whilst this Home Office announcement is unfortunate, it is important that all RTW checks made from 31 August are conducted follow these rule changes to protect our sponsorship license.

If you have any queries concerning this change, please contact james.baker@admin.ox.ac.uk

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